Supreme Court Upholds TSA Mask Mandate Authority

Supreme Court Upholds TSA Mask Mandate Authority

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The Supreme Court refused to overturn a ruling from a lower court, which I find to be interesting.

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.

The TSA can require mask wearing (even at the St. Regis Deer Valley!)

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.

We’ll see what happens to the ruling that overturned the mask mandate

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (27)
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  1. iamhere Guest

    Here's the problem, the TSA is not the airlines. Then you would have some airlines requiring it and not others or the TSA could require it for some places and not others. Sounds like a mess. Either require or don't.

  2. michael Guest

    I wonder the long term implications for DOT being virtually the 'sole authority' of rules for airlines.

    Staying away from the topic, SCOTUS seems to be saying in some cases other agencies have authority over the airlines.

  3. Joseph Story Guest

    Lucky, maybe get a lawyer to write on your blog. Your title is misleading. The Supreme Court didn't uphold anything.

    1. DCS Diamond

      For all practical purposes and as already discussed in this space, by "declining" the SCOTUS "upheld".
      The TSA will be able to mandate masking, and so will the CDC after the courts also "uphold" that case on appeal.

      G'day!

  4. BL Guest

    Just make it stop. Couldn’t care less! If these people cared about human life, they’d address a lot of other things they completely ignore on a daily basis. In the end, we all found out it was just to maintain an appearance of safety.

    1. Jeffrey Guest

      People will go on with their lives and ignore the Supreme Court proceedings. It is bullshit and nonsensical.

  5. Jerry Guest

    I still never understood why people who were scared of the coronavirus flew on commercial airlines during the pandemic. If they were so worried about the virus, they could have driven or flown private to their destination, or just not take that trip to their second home in hawaii. Their demands on others, especially children, to conform to their hypochondriac desire for everyone to wear a mask was authoritarian and unreasonable. Glad more and more...

    I still never understood why people who were scared of the coronavirus flew on commercial airlines during the pandemic. If they were so worried about the virus, they could have driven or flown private to their destination, or just not take that trip to their second home in hawaii. Their demands on others, especially children, to conform to their hypochondriac desire for everyone to wear a mask was authoritarian and unreasonable. Glad more and more people are finally coming around and seeing how crazy and authoritarian the "maskers" and "covidiots" really were, and the massive harms they inflicted on every corner of society.

    1. Fred Guest

      Jerry - please die, slowly and painfully.

    2. Lee Guest

      Jerry, it's not about the scared people. It's about the people with medical vulnerabilities. Anyone with diabetes. Anyone with a heart condition. It's about the kid with cancer who needs to go to St. Jude's for treatment but there's no Angel Flight available. And, as evidence has revealed, people without medical vulnerabilities but who have specific genetic markers. Your words lack full consideration of the situation.

      In total, over one million people died. I have...

      Jerry, it's not about the scared people. It's about the people with medical vulnerabilities. Anyone with diabetes. Anyone with a heart condition. It's about the kid with cancer who needs to go to St. Jude's for treatment but there's no Angel Flight available. And, as evidence has revealed, people without medical vulnerabilities but who have specific genetic markers. Your words lack full consideration of the situation.

      In total, over one million people died. I have a cousin who died of COVID. I have a niece who is otherwise healthy and who contracted long COVID. Her life is impaired. You must not have had a family member or close friend die of COVID.

      The family of a friend belonged to the "COVID is a hoax" crowd. The Dems simply want to exert authoritarian control over we freedom-loving "real" Americans. (BTW, I'm not a Dem or a liberal.) The dad died of COVID. Everyone in the family agreed that no one could know that dad died from COVID because it would undermine the credibility that COVID is a hoax. So, they made up a story as to the cause of dad's death. From your comments, it would seem that you are enslaved by your dogma, just as this family is.

      The Lord sayeth that Truth is the foundation of every virtue. If you cannot forgive someone, pray for them. Blessings to you.

    3. Jeff Guest

      First of all, Lee, the total people that died has never been distinguished between dying because of and dying with covid. Those are vastly different things. Second of all, it's not my problem to protect you if you have medical vulnerabilities. What did they do before the pandemic? Do that. Leave the rest of us alone.

    4. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      In your (failed) attempt to sound reasonable, all you're doing is making the same irrational arguments that people in the '60s - '80s did against seatbelt and helmet mandates.

  6. DCS Diamond

    When the Supreme Court "declines" to hear a case, it is practically the same as "upholding" a lower court's ruling (usually a Court of Appeals) on the case. In the TSA case, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a California lawyer's argument that "the TSA did not have the authority to mandate masks on airlines and surface transportation, like buses and trains, when it did so during the COVID-19 pandemic." The TSA...

    When the Supreme Court "declines" to hear a case, it is practically the same as "upholding" a lower court's ruling (usually a Court of Appeals) on the case. In the TSA case, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a California lawyer's argument that "the TSA did not have the authority to mandate masks on airlines and surface transportation, like buses and trains, when it did so during the COVID-19 pandemic." The TSA mask mandate has been upheld by the courts.

    Based on how the courts, including the SCOTUS, have ruled on the TSA mask mandate case, I have little doubt that a federal MAGA judge's ruling that the CDC mask mandate was "unlawful" - a nonsensical and partisan ruling - will also be tossed out when the Court of Appeals gets to rule on it.

    1. dc_nomad Guest

      Actually, that is not totally accurate: "a denial of a writ of certiorari means that no binding precedent is created by the denial itself, and the lower court's decision is treated as mandatory authority only within the geographical (or in the case of the Federal Circuit, subject-specific) jurisdiction of that court.

    2. DCS Diamond

      I already saw your response below. It's a distinction without a practical difference.
      The TSA will be able to mandate masking, so will the CDC after the courts also uphold that case on appeal.

    3. bhcompy Member

      In this case it's a distinction without a difference because there's no possibility of a circuit split here

  7. Ari Guest

    The other posts about the Supreme Court not upholding anything in this case are indeed correct; all that happened is that the high court declined to hear the case which means the lower court ruling remains in place.

    When the Supreme Court denies certiorari in a case, as happened here, many news outlets report on the story with headlines such as "Supreme Court Leaves in Place xyz . . . "--or "Supreme Court Allows...

    The other posts about the Supreme Court not upholding anything in this case are indeed correct; all that happened is that the high court declined to hear the case which means the lower court ruling remains in place.

    When the Supreme Court denies certiorari in a case, as happened here, many news outlets report on the story with headlines such as "Supreme Court Leaves in Place xyz . . . "--or "Supreme Court Allows xyz to Stand . . . "--rather than "Supreme Court Upholds xyz . . ."

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Distinction without a difference. That's like screaming "that's no rabbit, it's a hare!"

  8. Josh Guest

    Supreme Court accepts and agrees to hear fewer than 2% of the cases presented. They did not “uphold” anything. They just decided the case wasn’t worth their limited time. Either because it’s not important enough, or because the facts of the case are muddy enough that it doesn’t make for a clean ruling, or for any of a million reasons.

  9. John Guest

    This post is inaccurate in saying that the Supreme Court “upheld” the DC Circuit ruling. The Supreme Court merely denied certiorari — meaning it’s declining to hear this case. That has no legal or prefedential effect and is not “upholding” the mask mandate. They’re just deciding they shouldn’t hear full arguments on this particular case, which is their decision on more than 99% of the cases that they are asked to review. It would be...

    This post is inaccurate in saying that the Supreme Court “upheld” the DC Circuit ruling. The Supreme Court merely denied certiorari — meaning it’s declining to hear this case. That has no legal or prefedential effect and is not “upholding” the mask mandate. They’re just deciding they shouldn’t hear full arguments on this particular case, which is their decision on more than 99% of the cases that they are asked to review. It would be more accurate to say they declined to review a lower court ruling that the mask mandate is unlawful.

    1. Ben Guest

      This is not necessarily true. Other lower and peer courts can and will cite the DC Circuit ruling as precedent. Just because it doesn't come from SCOTUS, doesn't mean it's not precedent.

    2. Khatl Diamond

      @John - think you mean "lawful" not "unlawful". The appeals court ruled the TSA did have the authority. The supreme court declining to review that ruling means that the appeals court ruling becomes law of the land (unless overturned by statute)

  10. Tim Dunn Diamond

    The Supremes ruled based on current law. All this ruling means is that Congress will have to pass laws if they don't want to allow any governmental authority to impose mask mandates or they will have to prove the value in doing so.
    Since Dr. Birk said that she and Fauci were making up rules on the fly, there will be a much higher scientific hurdle in the future to impose the restrictions that were imposed under covid.

    1. DCS Diamond

      Since Dr. Birk said that she and Fauci were making up rules on the fly...

      They made the decisions or rules on the fly while taking into account the best available scientific evidence, because such decisions are a like second nature to Drs. Birk and Fauci. Contrast that with quack science, like drinking bleach to kill the virus or zapping it with laser, that TFG was proposing while thousands were dying...

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      She said they made it up on the fly and didn't have scientific basis for many of their recommendations. There really was no difference between her and the other guy

    3. DCS Diamond

      You read and heard what you wanted to hear and not necessarily what she actually said or meant.
      If certain decisions were not based on actual hard evidence - well, surprise! - that's because there wasn't any!

      But the notion that there was no difference between her and TFG is just MAGA nonsense.
      I suggest you read her book, "Silent Invasion”, or reviews thereof.

      G'day.

  11. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    Great. So it'll be an expansion of TSA, give then a new mandate, more money, more employees, and more power. Awesome Sauce.

    1. George Romey Guest

      Exactly. That's what this country needs, to spend millions more giving more power to a bunch of mall cop rejects.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

ConcordeBoy Diamond

In your (failed) attempt to sound reasonable, all you're doing is making the same irrational arguments that people in the '60s - '80s did against seatbelt and helmet mandates.

6
Lee Guest

Jerry, it's not about the scared people. It's about the people with medical vulnerabilities. Anyone with diabetes. Anyone with a heart condition. It's about the kid with cancer who needs to go to St. Jude's for treatment but there's no Angel Flight available. And, as evidence has revealed, people without medical vulnerabilities but who have specific genetic markers. Your words lack full consideration of the situation. In total, over one million people died. I have a cousin who died of COVID. I have a niece who is otherwise healthy and who contracted long COVID. Her life is impaired. You must not have had a family member or close friend die of COVID. The family of a friend belonged to the "COVID is a hoax" crowd. The Dems simply want to exert authoritarian control over we freedom-loving "real" Americans. (BTW, I'm not a Dem or a liberal.) The dad died of COVID. Everyone in the family agreed that no one could know that dad died from COVID because it would undermine the credibility that COVID is a hoax. So, they made up a story as to the cause of dad's death. From your comments, it would seem that you are enslaved by your dogma, just as this family is. The Lord sayeth that Truth is the foundation of every virtue. If you cannot forgive someone, pray for them. Blessings to you.

6
DCS Diamond

<blockquote>Since Dr. Birk said that she and Fauci were making up rules on the fly...</blockquote> They made the decisions or rules on the fly while taking into account the best available scientific evidence, because such decisions are a like second nature to Drs. Birk and Fauci. Contrast that with quack science, like drinking bleach to kill the virus or zapping it with laser, that TFG was proposing while thousands were dying...

6
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