U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the CDC had failed to adequately explain its reasons for the mandate, and did not allow public comment in violation of federal procedures for issuing new rules. Mizelle was appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2020.
The Health Freedom Defense Fund, a group that opposes public health mandates, and two individuals who argued that wearing masks while flying exacerbated their anxiety and panic attacks first filed the lawsuit against the Biden administration in July 2021.
The court’s ruling comes less than a week after the CDC extended the mask mandate for 15 days, amid a rise in Covid infections nationwide due to the more contagious omicron BA.2 subvariant. The U.S. reported a seven-day average of nearly 35,000 new infections as of Friday, a 36% increase over the past two weeks, according to data from the CDC.