MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If anyone is looking for a reason why appointments to the federal judiciary should remain free from politics as much as possible, look no further than the federal court bench here in Memphis – and the appointment of Judge Sheryl Lipman in 2014.
Politics obviously plays some role in the nominating and confirmation process. But once all that's over, it should be about nothing other than equal justice under the law. Lipman proved that last Friday when she ignored the politics of mask mandates – and did the absolute right thing. She issued a preliminary injunction preventing Gov. Bill Lee's mask opt-out order from being enforced in all Shelby County public schools.
The judge ruled that Lee's order has an adverse effect on children with certain health needs – who are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Even the governor admits masks help guard against getting the virus. But his reasoning is extremely flawed. He says parents should have the right to opt out of mask mandates – even though he supports a school district imposing mask requirements.
That makes no sense. If parents can opt out, it is not a requirement. It's merely a suggestion.
Thankfully Judge Lipman saw through nonsense and ruled in the best interest of children and public health – not what's best politically. Here's hoping Lee accepts this defeat and stop catering to anti-maskers who, quite frankly, are putting us all at risk.