Dallas County

Abbott's Challenge of Jenkins' Mask Mandate Heads to Texas Supreme Court

NBC 5 News

An appeals court has ruled against Texas Governor Greg Abbott's request for an emergency stay in his fight to strike down the mask mandate enacted by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Now the issue is headed to the Texas Supreme Court. The Dallas Morning News reports Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton immediately filed an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court.

Timeline: How Did We Get Here?

On July 29, Republican Gov. Abbott issued a new executive order making it harder for local officials to require anyone wear face coverings.

Jenkins, a Democrat, required masks in defiance of Abbott's executive order at the Dallas County Commissioners Court on Aug. 3.

Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton said Jenkin's order violates Executive Order GA-38 and state law.

On Aug. 9, Jenkins filed a temporary restraining order and declaratory judgment "seeking to hold portions of GA 38 regarding mask mandates unenforceable."

The next day a judge ruled in favor of Jenkins. In her ruling, 116th Civil District Court Judge Tonya Parker wrote, "immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result" if Jenkins cannot mandate mitigation measures against COVID-19.

On Aug. 11 Abbott and Paxton filed a mandamus petition with the 5th Court of Appeals in an effort to strike down Dallas County's mask mandate.

The Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled that "the Governor's power to suspend certain laws and rules… does not include the power to suspend the [Texas Disaster] Act's grant of authority to mayors and county judges to declare and manage local disasters."

While the 5th court is made up mainly of Democrats, Friday night, Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court, where all of the justices are Republicans.

The Dallas County Mask mandate took effect at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. The temporary restraining order expires Aug. 24.

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