A federal judge declared the Biden administration’s mask mandate for public transportation is unlawful.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, appointed by former President Donald Trump, said the mandate went beyond the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC extended the mandate due to the new Omicron variant even as indoor mandates were dropped across the nation by state and local authorities.
Airlines have repeatedly pleaded with the Biden administration to drop the mandate and other restrictions, such as predeparture testing for international travelers.
It remains to be seen how airlines and passengers will react in the immediate aftermath of the ruling.
UPDATE: A Biden administration official confirmed the TSA is not currently enforcing the mask mandate.
“The agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps. In the meantime, today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time. Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time,” the official said.