Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the Texas Supreme Court to stop the mask mandate in San Antonio and Bexar County, citing an adverse decision by an appellate court.
On Aug. 16, a Bexar County district judge issued a temporary injunction permitting the city and county to mandate masks in public buildings and schools. The mask regulations will remain in effect until December when the case will be tried. On behalf of the state, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an urgent appeal with the 4th Court of Appeals, but a panel of judges upheld the local mask rule last Thursday.
Paxton filed a petition with the Texas Supreme Court on Monday, stating that the 4th Court of Appeals’ decision adds to the state’s mask requirements’ confusion, and requesting “immediate” action.
The 4th Court’s decision, Paxton wrote, “upends, rather than preserves, the status quo.” As a result of the court of appeals’ judgment, there is even more misunderstanding in Texas about mask laws, hampering the state’s capacity to respond to the epidemic as a whole.”
Because a previous temporary restraining order granted on Aug. 10 first placed the mandates in place in San Antonio and Bexar County, the 4th Court of Appeals decided that keeping a municipal mask mandate preserved the status quo.
Paxton also claimed that the state’s top court should act quickly because, despite the governor’s executive order, other towns and counties are being granted temporary orders enabling them to impose masks.
The appeal stated that “The governor’s injury is therefore both immediate and ongoing, and any recourse to the regular channels of appellate review will come too late”.
Abbott’s appeal had not been heard by the Texas Supreme Court as of Tuesday morning. The first temporary restraining order that the city and county were granted to impose masks in their buildings and public schools were previously blocked by the court. According to the Texas Tribune, the court refused Abbott’s plea to block a similar mask law in Travis County on a technicality in a separate legal case on Thursday.