On Thursday, the clerk of the Supreme Court, Blake A. Hawthorne, wrote that the governor maintains his legal authority to make government decision “both on the state and local levels.”
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“This case, and others like it, are not about whether people should wear masks or whether the government should make them do it,” Hawthorne wrote.
“Rather, these cases ask courts to determine which government officials have the legal authority to decide what the government’s position on such questions will be.”
“The status quo, for many months, has been gubernatorial oversight of such decisions at both the state and local levels. That status quo should remain in place while the court of appeals, and potentially this Court, examine the parties’ merits arguments to determine whether plaintiffs have demonstrated a probable right to the relief sought.”
Infowars.com reports: Many media outlets, most of which are pro-mask, downplayed the major development in reports, with some news agencies claiming the high court’s ruling was merely a “pause” on mandates and “temporary,” and that it only affected San Antonio’s mask mandate.
However, statements by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who lauded the decision, made the ruling’s intent clear – it is meant across the board.
“The Texas Supreme Court has sided with the law, and the decision to enforce mask mandates lies with the governor’s legislatively-granted authority,” Paxton said. “Mask mandates across our state are illegal, and judges must abide by the law. Further non-compliance will result in more lawsuits.”
Paxton went even further, telling parents to report schools if they are still implementing masks.
“To all Texans: PUBLIC SCHOOLS CANNOT MANDATE MASKS. Period. Both the Gov’s Exec Order and SCOTX are clear on this. If your kids’ public schools are still requiring masks, email email@example.com. They are wasting your tax dollars dragging everyone into litigation!”
The ruling upholds Gov. Abbott’s Executive Order issued in May which banned mask mandates issued by government entities and government officials.
“No governmental entity, including a county, city, school district, and public health authority, and no governmental official may require a person to wear a face covering or to mandate that another person wear a face covering,” the order states.
The ruling effectively means recently-implemented mask mandates at over 100 schools across the state, including San Antonio ISD, Austin ISD, Eanes ISD, Round Rock ISD, Leander ISD, Houston ISD, and Dallas ISD, all run afoul of the law pending further judicial review.
The order comes as the City of San Antonio and Bexar County have attempted to appeal the Governor’s mask ban and implement a restraining order against it, allowing them to force children in schools to mask up.
More on the legal fiasco from KSAT.com:
Abbott and Paxton filed an emergency motion to the court on Tuesday, seeking a stay on the injunction that allowed Bexar County’s mask mandate to move forward. The court granted the stay, but has not yet ruled on the state’s request to permanently lift the injunction as the case moves its way through the courts.
The injunction was initially granted by 57th Civil District Court Judge Toni Arteaga on Aug. 16 after Bexar County sued the governor, arguing that he overreached on his executive order that barred governmental entities, including schools, from requiring face coverings. Arteaga cited the vulnerability of children in school and a “dire situation” in Bexar County hospitals amid a surge of COVID-19 cases.
The state officials filed an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court after the Fourth Court of Appeals upheld the injunction on Aug. 19.
Read the ruling here.