The nonstop mask mandates have become onerous as the pandemic restrictions drag on. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has fought back and now won another victory.
The Texas Supreme Court has reinstated the GOP governor’s mask mandate moratorium, Breitbart reported. The decision Thursday temporarily halts maks mandates implemented in Bexar County and San Antonio.
“The Texas Supreme Court has sided with the law, and the decision to enforce mask mandates lies with the governor’s legislatively-granted authority,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “Mask mandates across our state are illegal, and judges must abide by the law. Further non-compliance will result in more lawsuits.”
Bexar County had sued Abbott citing an overreach in prohibiting the mask mandates that officials wished to implement for the schools. They argued that surging case numbers justified the mandates regardless of the governor’s orders.
Abbott and Paxton countered that their authority to strike down mandates came under the Texas Disaster Act. Also, the administration contended that municipalities implementing their own mask mandates were contributing to “statewide confusion arising from the multiple, conflicting orders that courts at all levels of the judiciary have issued in the past several weeks.”
A lower court allowed the mask mandates to remain in place despite the ban enacted by Abbott. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court which temporarily blocked the injunction against Abbott’s ban on the mandates.
Although this is a win, the decision only gives temporary relief. The larger issue — whether the governor has the authority to impose restrictions on mask mandates — will have to be further litigated.
The courts will have to battle out whose authority mask mandates, or the lack thereof, fall under. However, GOP governors like Abbot and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have drawn a line in the sand to protect their citizens from draconian COVID-19 mitigation rules. Which side will win is still anyone’s guess — but for now, Texas schoolchildren can breathe easy.