The Supreme Court refused to overturn a ruling from a lower court, which I find to be interesting.
In this post:
The TSA does have the authority to require mask wearing
On Monday, the Supreme Court let a ruling stand that allows the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to require masks to be worn on public transportation, including planes, trains, and buses.
A lawyer had argued that the TSA didn’t have the authority to mandate mask wearing during a pandemic, as we saw during COVID-19. A US Court of Appeals judge for the DC Circuit found no merit to the case, and affirmed that the TSA does have the authority to maintain security and safety within the transportation system, including imposing mask mandates.
In other words, this decision reaffirmed that the TSA does have the authority to enforce health-related restrictions during a pandemic.
This is separate from what ended the mask mandate
For over a year, we had a federal transportation mask mandate in place. While Trump didn’t have a mask mandate, all major US airlines had rules around wearing masks on planes. Then when Biden became president, he imposed a federal transportation mask mandate, intended to formalize the policies of all airlines.
That mask mandate ended in April 2022, earlier than planned, after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the mask mandate exceeded the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), claiming that the CDC failed to justify the order and didn’t follow proper rule making procedures.
Shortly after this ruling, it was announced that the CDC had asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to proceed with an appeal of that ruling. That wasn’t necessarily being done to bring back the mask mandate, but rather was being done “to protect CDC’s public health authority beyond the ongoing assessment.”
This isn’t the case that the Supreme Court refused to hear on Monday. The Supreme Court decided not to hear a case about the TSA having the authority to enforce a mask mandate, and it remains to be seen what happens to the appeal about the CDC’s public health authority. That case hasn’t made it way to the Supreme Court yet.
The Supreme Court won’t overturn a ruling regarding the TSA having the authority to mandate mask wearing in the transportation system. This follows a lawsuit from a lawyer, who claimed this was an overreach of the TSA’s authority.
This is separate from the Biden administration challenging a ruling from a federal judge, who decided that the CDC was overstepping its authority by issuing mask mandates for planes. Time will tell how that plays out.
What do you make of the Supreme Court not hearing this case about the TSA?