Fauci: Courts Should Stay Out of CDC's Way on Mask Mandates

Chief medical adviser says it's 'disturbing' that courts have power over CDC

Anthony Fauci (Getty Images)
April 22, 2022

White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Thursday took aim at the federal court ruling that overturned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's mask mandate on planes and public transportation, calling it "disturbing" that a judge can overrule the CDC.

In an appearance on CNN+, the failed $300 million streaming service that the cable network dissolved on Thursday after just 23 days, Fauci reiterated that courts should have no say in public health mandates.

"We are concerned about … courts getting involved in things that are unequivocally public health decisions," Fauci said. "This is a CDC issue, it should not have been a court issue."

Fauci made the same argument in an appearance on CBS News. "The principle of a court overruling a public health judgment by a qualified organization like the CDC is disturbing in the precedent that it might send,"  he said. "This is a public health matter, not a judicial matter."

A federal judge on Monday blocked the CDC's mask mandate, and within hours many airlines and public transportation systems across the country announced they would allow passengers to travel maskless.

But the Biden administration has committed to fighting to put the mask mandate back in place. The Justice Department on Wednesday filed a notice of appeal against the court order.