US Justice Department Files Appeal to Overturn Federal Mask Mandate Ruling

US Justice Department Files Appeal to Overturn Federal Mask Mandate Ruling

Traveler wearing a face mask at the airport. (photo via Viorel Kurnosov/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

The United States Justice Department has filed a federal appeal to overturn a district court judge’s decision earlier this year that deemed the mask mandate on all forms of public transportation unlawful.

According to, officials from the Justice Department told a federal appeals court that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order issued in January 2021 was “within” the agency’s legal authority.

In April, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball ruled that the CDC’s latest extension of the mandatory mask order was unlawful. As a result, President Joe Biden and his administration said they would no longer enforce the coronavirus-related restriction.

Tuesday’s appeal by the Justice Department came hours before an appeals court filing deadline.

“None of the district court’s quarrels with the CDC order comes close to showing that the CDC has acted outside the zone of reasonableness,” the Justice Department’s appeal read. Officials said the CDC provided “ample support for the agency’s determination that there was good cause to make the order effective without delay.”

After the federal mask mandate was lifted, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the rate of unruly air passenger incidents fell to its lowest level since late 2020, a welcomed change for airport and airline officials worried about growing violence.

In 2021, of nearly 6,000 incidents reported to the FAA of unruly passengers, 73 percent were found to have been mask-related.

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