This past Sunday, the Texas Supreme Court has temporarily placed a ban on all mask mandates across the state, which comes as a win for Greg Abbott, the Republican Governor of Texas.
Previously, Abbott had petitioned the courts for a stay on lower court rulings that made it ok for all local governments and school boards to forcefully reinstate their mask mandates onto their jurisdictions. The state Supreme Court agreed to grant Abbott’s request as they ruled to temporarily ban the local mask mandates while the court works on its final ruling, as reported by the San Antonio Express-News.
Abbott banned all mask mandates and other heavily restrictive health orders statewide this past month, stating in a release: “The new Executive Order emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates. Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19. They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, and engage in leisure activities. Vaccines, which remain in abundant supply, are the most effective defense against the virus, and they will always remain voluntary – never forced – in the State of Texas.”
Abbot’s new order put a stop to mask mandates and any so-called “vaccine passports,” or the forcing of requirements for someone to reveal their vaccine status before being allowed to enter a building or take part in any public activities. The governor took action in the wake of a large number of local governments and school boards starting to force their lockdown measures all over again.
A group of local officials pledged to move forward with their mask mandates in spite of the ruling from the Supreme Court.
“The City of San Antonio and Bexar County’s response to the Texas Supreme Court continues to emphasize that the Governor cannot use his emergency powers to suspend laws that provide local entities the needed flexibility to act in an emergency,” Andy Segovia, a San Antonio attorney, stated in a release. “His suspension authority is meant to facilitate action, not prohibit it.”
The superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, Michael Hinojosa, stated to The New York Times: “Until there’s an official order of the court that applies to the Dallas Independent School District, we will continue to have the mask mandate.”
“We will comply when the court order applies to us,” he added on.