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DOJ to appeal District Court decision voiding federal mask mandate

Wilenchick isn’t surprised that the CDC is pushing to reinstitute a public transportation mask mandate.
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 10:40 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Department of Justice today filed a notice of appeal against a Florida District Court’s decision to void a federal mask mandate. This came after the CDC said that the mandate is necessary for public health.

“The decision really clips the wings of the CDC in many ways,” Arizona attorney Jack Wilenchik said.

Wilenchick isn’t surprised that the CDC is pushing to reinstitute a public transportation mask mandate. Not after Florida District judge Kathryn Mizelle said a federal mandate exceeded the CDC’s authority.

“The judge is saying, well, the CDC doesn’t have anything even approaching the authority for that,” he said. “They can’t tell people to wear masks, and they basically can’t tell people to do anything except actively quarantine people or get rid of contagious things.”

The DOJ’s decision to appeal gives University of Arizona doctor Shard Marvasti hope moving forward. “I got excited and happy to hear that we’re actually trying to promote and defend science and public health and safety,” Marvasti said.

Without the mandate, Marvasti sees another rise in COVID-19 numbers. “We’ll see more people exposed, we’ll see challenges with those people who are immunocompromised and higher risk, as well as children under the age of five,” he said.

But despite the presence of a new Omicron variant, Wilenchik thinks the conservative makeup of the appeals court (and, if necessary, the Supreme Court) makes it likely that masks won’t be required anytime soon.

“I think that the judges and courts are now feeling they have a safer space now to look at these issues of if the CDC had the authority to do these things,” Wilenchik said. “I do think generally that it’s likely that this will be upheld.”