The Lawfare Podcast: Understanding the Legal Decision that Ended the Mask Mandate and What Comes Next

By Jen Patja Howell
Friday, April 29, 2022, 5:01 AM

Last week, a federal district judge in Florida named Kathryn Mizelle struck down the Biden administration's policy requiring that individuals wear masks on airplanes and other forms of interstate travel. In doing so, she adopted an extremely narrow reading of relevant public health statutes to conclude that they did not authorize any such masking policies, a move that has since triggered more questions about what public health tools the federal government will have left if Mizelle’s decision is left to stand.

To better understand this decision and its ramifications, Scott R. Anderson sat down with two legal experts: Lindsay Wiley, a professor specializing in health, law and policy at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law, and Alan Rozenshtein, a Lawfare senior editor and professor of, among other things, legislative and regulatory law at the University of Minnesota Law School. They talked about Mizelle’s approach to statutory interpretation, the role of the major questions doctrine, whether her views are likely to survive appeal and how the entire endeavor is likely to impact ongoing efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.