DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In the continuing legal battle between Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Gov. Greg Abbott over mask mandates, the Texas Supreme Court on Sunday ruled in favor of the governor.
The Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency stay on a temporary restraining order against Abbott’s order that bans mask mandates. A temporary injunction hearing will move forward, according to Jenkins.
This comes days after Jenkins issued an executive order that required masks inside schools and businesses in Dallas County. Jenkins said the continuing surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations led to his decision.
Shortly after the announcement last Wednesday, Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a petition to “strike down” Jenkins’ order, saying the mandate violated the governor’s own order.
However, a Texas appeals court in Dallas on Friday sided with Jenkins, allowing the mask mandate to stay in place. Abbott and Paxton then took the case to the Texas Supreme Court.
Abbott and Paxton cited the Texas Disaster Act as reason for challenging the mandate, saying act “clearly states that the Governor has the power to guide the state through emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”
With the Texas Supreme Court’s decision, the governor’s ban on mask mandates can continue.
“We won’t stop working with parents, doctors, schools, business + others to protect you and intend to win that hearing,” Jenkins said in a tweet Sunday evening.
“The Tex Supreme Court did not strike down my face mask order. Rather they removed the stay on the GA 38. Unless I receive a ruling requiring otherwise, I will amend my order to remove the possibility of fines on non-compliant businesses but otherwise leave the order in effect,” he added in a separate tweet.
Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa announced Sunday evening that the district is keeping its mask mandate. He said he spoke with attorneys and determined the district wasn’t affected by the ruling.
Irving ISD, Garland ISD and Mesquite ISD were among the first Dallas County school districts to say they will follow the Texas Supreme Court’s decision and rescind their mandates.
“This afternoon, the Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocked the masks requirement mandate issued by Dallas County last week, which affects our public schools in Irving. Irving ISD will adhere to the Supreme Court’s decision until further guidance on the matter is provided,” Irving ISD said in a tweet.
“Now, Mesquite ISD’s obligation under the law is to fall back to the Governor’s order. Effective Monday, Aug. 16, masks will not be required in our buildings. However, in the strongest terms possible, MISD urges all students and staff members to wear masks as a precaution to protect others from the spread of COVID-19,” Mesquite ISD said in a statement.