This week, NACCHO leaders joined an amicus brief in support of the Biden Administration’s appeal of an April lower court decision in Health Freedom Defense Fund v. President of the United States that struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) public transportation mask mandate. The Department of Justice has appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
More than 200 public health advocates and officials signed the brief, including NACCHO Chief Executive Officer Lori Tremmel, NACCHO President Lisa Macon Harrison, and seven other current and former NACCHO Board Members. Six former CDC directors also signed the brief.
On April 18, Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled that the CDC had exceeded its statutory authority in issuing the mask mandate and violated the Administrative Procedures Act. The amicus brief argues there are two main issues with the district court’s ruling: 1) the mask mandate qualifies as a core function of the CDC, and 2) the historic meaning of sanitation is far broader than what the district court judge ruled.
Although the mask mandate is currently not being enforced due to the court order, the CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.