AUSTIN – Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday the filing of a mandamus petition the 5th Court of Appeals to strike down the actions by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, according to a release.
On Tuesday, Judge Tonya Parker granted local authorities in Dallas counties, such as Judge Jenkins, temporary power to issue mask mandates, defying the governor’s executive order GA-38, which bans local mask orders across Texas. In San Antonio, Judge Antonia Arteaga granted the local officials a temporary restraining order blocking Abbott’s action.
Abbott’s office said Jenkin’s order violates Executive Order GA-38 and state law. His office also stated that the Texas Disaster Act states that the governor has the power to guide the state through emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Abbott’s office stated that any school district, public university, or local government official that decides to defy the order will be taken to court.
“Under Executive Order GA-38, no governmental entity can require or mandate the wearing of masks,” Abbott said. “The path forward relies on personal responsibility—not government mandates. The State of Texas will continue to vigorously fight the temporary restraining order to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans.”
“This isn’t the first time we have dealt with activist characters. It’s deja vu all over again,” Paxton said. “Attention-grabbing judges and mayors have defied executive orders before when the pandemic first started, and the courts ruled on our side – the law. I’m confident the outcomes to any suits will side with liberty and individual choice, not mandates and government overreach.”