Last week US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle struck down the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airplanes and other public transport methods. Videos posted on social media showed airplane passengers cheering when told that the now tiresome face mask was no longer needed in the airport or on the plane.
We have been masked up on public transportation for over two years with little scientific rationale for this new practice, the first time public health officials recommended, then required, masking to prevent transmission of a respiratory virus. In fact, the CDC and WHO, early in the pandemic, did not recommend facial coverings, except for those who are immunocompromised or otherwise at higher risk.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the face of the government’s COVID policy, claimed that masks were ineffective in stopping respiratory viruses. Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams agreed with Dr Fauci. Yet the CDC insisted that we all wear masks.
Initially it was at all indoor public venues but gradually these requirements were lifted. Many remember trying to workout at the local health club while wearing a mask. Eventually we did not need masks in restaurants, sports arenas, and shopping malls, but did on airplanes and in airports, despite the high-tech air filtration systems on planes.
A federal judge finally put an end to masks through her recent ruling. The media was outraged, saying the 35-year-old female judge, nominated by an elected president, confirmed by an elected senate, was somehow illegitimate, constitutionally unqualified, and fraudulently practicing medicine.
Yet the judge was nothing of the sort. The judge was ruling on the law, not the science. As Powerline Blog reported, “The court accepted CDC’s claim that wearing masks would, in fact, retard the spread of covid. But that assumed fact does not constitute ‘good cause’ for proceeding without notice and public comment, or else that requirement would be a dead letter for any action undertaken by CDC.”
In addition, the CDC did not have statutory authority under existing law to mandate mask wearing. The simple remedy would have been Congress granting such authority to the CDC through the legislative process. This should have been easy with Democrats, the biggest proponents of mask mandates and in control of both Congress and the White House, passing such a law.
But they did not, instead leaving it to a judge to remind the executive branch that they did not have unfettered power. This is a good example of checks and balances that the three branches of government have over each other, as we learned in grade school civics class and as enshrined into the US Constitution.
Shortly after the ruling, all major US airlines dropped the mask mandate, much to the relief of passengers and flight crews tasked with enforcing these draconian rules. Those who want to wear masks are free to wear one or more, secure in their belief that masks will protect them from COVID and other respiratory viruses, while leaving other passengers, with vaccination and/or natural immunity, free to breathe and talk without a piece of cloth of fabric covering their nose and mouth.
The Biden administration is appealing this ruling. But with an upcoming election, is this the political hill Democrats want to fight and die on? If they want to go back to masking, they should follow the proper process and pass a law rather than leaving it to unelected and unaccountable government agencies to rule by fiat.