https://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/alex-christy/2022/04/19/unqualified-florida-dangerous-msnbc-attacks-judge-who-struck-down

“Scary,” “unqualified,” and “Florida.” Those were just some of the terms used by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Dr. Peter Hotez on Tuesday as they reacted to the airplane mask mandate being struck down by a federal Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle.

After Mitchell noted the White House will still be requiring masks on Air Force One, Hotez expressed dismay that the CDC cannot simply do whatever it wants, “The idea that some random federal judge in Florida would overturn the Centers for Disease Control is also a scary precedent to set. Because what — what comes next in terms of overriding other public health measures?”

Mitchell concurred in a statement to Supreme Court and Justice Department correspondent Pete Williams, “And this could mean also mean, Pete, legally that you’re saying that the CDC does not have the authority, that the federal government does not have the authority to make a public health decision in a lot of different instances, not just in public transportation. If this stands.”

Williams explained that the judge had a compelling reason to do what she did, “the CDC had no authority and secondly, she says, when you do something like this, you have to seek public comment to make a rule. The government didn’t do that.” Yet, Mitchell and Hotez completely ignored this and continued their attacks, this time against Mizelle personally.

Mitchell first expressed horror that somebody may be infected and she wouldn’t know about it: “And how do you know if someone is not infected if they’re not tested and they’re not masked? I mean, there’s no way to know whether or not to know if someone’s not infected if you’re not requiring some proof that you’re not infected.”

If the CDC is to be given law-making powers, Mitchell then argued the American Bar Association’s rating system should be uncritically accepted. For good measure, she also attacked Mizelle’s age, “It is a fact that this judge, when she was appointed, nominated for conformation, was 33 years old, she was an associate at a law firm, she’d never been a judge before, but now she’s a federal judge for life and she was deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association in their recommendation to the Senate.”

When Elena Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court, the White House cited the May 10, 2010, edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports for why Kagan was qualified to be a justice despite never having been a judge. Mizelle also graduated summa cum laude from her law school and clerked for Justice Thomas.

After Williams reported the government will likely not appeal the ruling, Mitchell saw politics, “And the president is under water politically in the polls and it’s tough with this being only a two-week extension that the CDC did, Dr. Hotez.” 

Hotez then proved why experts should stay in their lane as he suggested that because Mizelle is a federal judge in Florida, she must be an agent of that state, “That’s right. They were waiting for the numbers to go down. And it’s not just politics. It’s Florida politics…so there’s a clear political agenda coming out of the state of Florida.” 

Mizelle may be relatively young, but at least she knows the difference between a federal judge and state judge.

This is a segment was sponsored by Progressive.

Here is a transcript for the April 19 show:

MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports

4/19/2022

12:06 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL And we should just point out that the port authority in New York is not lifting the mask mandate, so you still have a mask on in the New York City subway, you don’t in the D.C. in the Metro, so different cities are doing different things. And Dr. Hotez, also we understand now from the White House that because the CDC is still, you know, recommending masks on Air Force One, as the president is flying to New Hampshire today, he’ll have to wear a mask. 

PETER HOTEZ: Yeah, it makes sense, right? I mean, this is, we know transmission’s up. I’m also, you know, the idea that some random federal judge in Florida would overturn the Centers for Disease Control is also a scary precedent to set. Because what—what—comes next in terms of overriding other public health measures?

MITCHELL: And this could mean also mean, Pete, legally that you’re saying that the CDC does not have the authority, that the federal government does not have the authority to make a public health decision in a lot of different instances, not just in public transportation. If this stands. 

PETE WILLIAMS: Well, what the judge says is go back and look at this public health law that set up the CDC, that that’s the authority it operates under and it lists things the CDC can do. Quarantines, fumigation, limiting travel of infected people, and then there’s this word, sanitation. So, the judge says “what does sanitation mean?”

Does it mean making things clean or keeping things clean? The government says keeping things clean, that’s what masks are. The judge said that’s not the common use of the word. It means making things clean and wearing a mask is not sanitation and for that reason, the CDC had no authority and secondly, she says, when you do something like this, you have to seek public comment to make a rule. The government didn’t do that. The reasons it gave for saying it’s exempt from that aren’t good enough. Those are the two grounds of her decision.

HOTEZ: The word sanitation comes from the term sanitas, sanitas means health and—and– sanitation is actually the old term that’s used for hygiene. So, it’s a very narrow ruling that the judge made and, you know, I think could easily be overturned if the Biden Administration were to [inaudible].

MITCHELL: And how do you know if someone is not infected if they’re not tested and they’re not masked? I mean, there’s no way to know whether or not to know if someone’s not infected if you’re not requiring some proof that you’re not infected. The, you know, the other thing about is, and you don’t have to go here, Pete, but it is a fact that this judge, when she was appointed, nominated for conformation, was 33 years old, she was an associate at a law firm, she’d never been a judge before, but now she’s a federal judge for life and she was deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association in their recommendation to the Senate and then in a lame duck session approved, most probably a voice vote.

WILLIAMS: So, the question is will the government do anything here? The government’s option is to go the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and seek an emergency stay. We’re told on the record that no decision has been made, but all the signs that we’re seeing though from the federal government are they’re not going to do that and you have to ask why and I think one thing is a practical problem. Now that you’ve told everybody you don’t have to wear a mask, I think the airlines would really find it very hard to police if next day they say oh now you do have to wear one again. So, I think, maybe, the government waited too long or whatever it’s, I don’t think there’s going to be an appeal.

MITCHELL: It’s also politics and we can only infer this, but this is a hot political issue. 

WILLIAMS: Sure.

MITCHELL: And the president is under water politically in the polls and it’s tough with this being only a two-week extension that the CDC did, Dr. Hotez.  The CDC didn’t say that it was going to be more than two weeks because they were waiting to have more evidence about the variant. 

HOTEZ: That’s right. They were waiting for the numbers to go down. And it’s not just politics. It’s Florida politics. Remember, this is the same state where the Florida Surgeon General said you don’t need to do pediatric vaccinations. Which is absolutely ridiculous. We’re going directly against not only the Centers for Disease Control, but the FDA, but the NIH, and the—the– scientific community, so there’s a clear political agenda coming out of the state of Florida. 

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