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Great Scot! Covenant College grad ends CDC mask mandate on planes, nation rejoices

William Wolfe /

“The Court concludes that the Mask Mandate exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and violates the procedures required for agency rulemaking under the APA [Administrative Procedures Act]. Accordingly, the Court vacates the Mandate and remands it to the CDC.”

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle

I went to a small, liberal arts, Christian college on top of Lookout Mountain, Georgia. The name of the school is Covenant College and it is the “official college of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).” Quite frankly, not too many folks outside of a narrow slice of the evangelical world have heard of Covenant, or its mascot, the Fighting Scots. Well, not until yesterday. 

That relative obscurity evaporated like jumbo jet chemtrails at 30,000 feet on Monday. That’s when Covenant College alumna and current U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle struck down the Biden Administration’s attempt to extend the CDC’s mask mandate on airplanes and other public transportation. 

Along with graduating from Covenant, Judge Mizelle received her J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and was the youngest person appointed to the federal judiciary by President Donald Trump. 

Her ruling focused on how the CDC misinterpreted their authority to issue regulations pertaining to “sanitation” in efforts to fight disease. She argued, “Wearing a mask cleans nothing. At most, it traps virus droplets. But it neither ‘sanitizes’ the person wearing the mask nor ‘sanitizes’ the conveyance.” Further, she appropriately categorized the enforcement of the mandate as similar to “detention and quarantine.”

She went on: “As a result, the Mask Mandate is best understood not as sanitation, but as an exercise of the CDC’s power to conditionally release individuals to travel despite concerns that they may spread a communicable disease (and to detain or partially quarantine those who refuse). But the power to conditionally release and detain is ordinarily limited to individuals entering the United States from a foreign country.”

Judge Mizelle ultimately ruled, “The Court concludes that the Mask Mandate exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and violates the procedures required for agency rulemaking under the APA [Administrative Procedures Act]. Accordingly, the Court vacates the Mandate and remands it to the CDC.”

With that last sentence, millions of otherwise miserable travelers breathed a sigh of relief and then took a big breath of fresh air — literally.

Put in place by the Biden Administration in February 2021, the mask mandate for travel was one of the last remaining significant pandemic restrictions, impacting millions of travelers every day. Upon hearing the news, the vast majority of airlines went ahead and repealed their mask requirements — even mid-flight. The reaction was unambiguously one of excitement. 

ABC News reported that the “major airlines switched to a mask-optional policy, with some eliciting cheers from passengers,” and “sleepy passengers on a Delta Air Lines flight between Atlanta and Barcelona, Spain, cheered and applauded when a flight attendant announced the news mid-flight over the ocean.”

It’s not just the passengers who are finally free, it’s the airline employees as well. In a video, Dillon Thomas, a CBS Denver reporter on the flight, captures the flight attendant cheerfully saying, “No one could be happier than we are.” Though she encouraged those who want to continue wearing masks to do so if they want to, she finished by saying, “But we’re ready to give them up. So, thank you and happy unmasking day!”

For most regular people, it was a happy day indeed. But not for those held hostage by the toxic nanny-state mentality. They continue to bitterly cling to their masks and vaccine cards even though it’s been two years since COVID first hit the United States and vaccines are now widely available for anyone who want one.

In a fit of disbelief, reporters rushed to prove who knew less about how our federal judiciary is supposed to work while simultaneously engaging in overt ageism against Judge Mizelle, who was appointed by former President Trump at age 33 and is currently 35. 

Mark Joseph Kearn, a senior writer for Slate, tweeted out his dismay, asking us to imagine the difficulty of “explaining to your friends in other liberal democracies that a single unelected, life-tenured, 35-year-old judge just abolished the air travel mask mandate for the entire country. No peer nation would tolerate such a power-drunk juristocracy. Our system is badly broken.” 

The reality is this is exactly how our system is supposed to work. The federal courts exist as a check and balance on the federal executive and legislative branches. Judge Mizelle isn’t “power-drunk”; in fact, she issued a rather sober and appropriate judgement — the CDC failed to follow the law and exceeded its authority. The only thing “badly broken” about this scenario in the first place is the Mask Mandate itself

Mark also, rudely, asked, “Who should decide whether air passengers must wear masks: A federal agency staffed with experts accountable to the president, who is accountable to the people? Or a 35-year-old Trump judge in Tampa?” 

Thankfully for the millions of us who prefer a little more freedom and a little less medical madness, the answer to Mark’s question is “the 35-year-old Trump judge in Tampa.” Though one does have to wonder what her age has to do with this? I’m only 33 myself, but I’m old enough to remember when it used to be both ageist and sexist to reference a women’s age in the workplace in some effort to question her qualifications. As the saying goes: If it wasn’t for double standards, some people — and by this I primarily mean journalists — wouldn’t have any standards at all.

Other voices joined the chorus by highlighting the hypocrisy of bringing up Judge Mizelle’s age. pointed out, “Liberals think a 35-year-old judge who struck down the mask mandate is too young, but they think a 13-year-old is old enough to have an abortion.” 

As always, the left makes little to no sense because they have little to no moral compass in serious matters. Apparently, 15-year-olds are old enough to decide to permanently mutilate their bodies for the sake of transgender illusions, but a 35-year-old judge who graduated summa cum laude from undergrad and law school is too young to conclude that the CDC overstepped its authority. Go figure. I’d chuckle at the absurd inconsistency, but since I’m no longer wearing a mask, I wouldn’t want to seem rude. I’ll settle for smiling on the inside instead. 

Because this isn’t just a win for the country, though it is certainly that. It’s a win for graduates of small, relatively unknown Christian colleges everywhere. Like I mentioned, Covenant’s mascot is the “Scot” in honor of their Reformed Presbyterian heritage. And since the school is located on top of the mountain, one of the fun phrases chanted by the students during athletic events is the line, “We are the Scots and we come from the mountain!” As both a former Scot myself and one who had the privilege to serve in a senior capacity in the same administration that appointed Judge Mizelle to the federal bench, I’d say Monday was a win all around. 

As Scots, we do come from the mountain — where the air is clean, clear, and breathable. Thanks to a clear-headed Christian judge, the air just got a lot more breathable for millions of American travelers as well. And that’s something worth celebrating, no matter where you come from. 

Follow William on Twitter! @William_E_Wolfe