How a Single Judge’s Ruling Upended National COVID Policy
One lobbying group finally got its verdict against health protections
For more than a year, a little-known group called the Health Freedom Defense Fund has been working to roll back vaccine and mask mandates all over the country, often filing lawsuits one community at a time — from a tiny town in Idaho to the Los Angeles Unified School District and beyond.
The group, created last year by a former Wall Street executive turned anti-vaccine activist to advocate for "bodily autonomy," saw mixed results, with some local officials bending under the pressure and others winning efforts to dismiss lawsuits they viewed as coming from a fringe organization.
The decision Monday by a federal judge in Florida to invalidate the government-imposed mask mandate on public transportation handed the group a major legal victory, instantly upending national policy and setting off a cascade of reactions that reflected the impact on millions of Americans.
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