Texas Supreme Court slammed for allowing ban on mask mandates: ‘They like to kill Texans’
The fully Republican Texas Supreme Court has sided with Governor Greg Abbott on the mask mandate issue, granting a temporary stay on the governor's ban on August 15. The ruling means local officials can no longer make their own decisions when it comes to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. The stay is only temporary though, till further hearings on the matter are scheduled to be heard in lower courts.
Despite a rapid increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and even deaths, Republicans all over the country have refused to embrace masks or vaccines. Earlier in March, Texas became one of the largest states to lift its mask mandate, as cases dropped due to vaccinations. Since then, Abbott has stood firm in his opposition to mask mandates. That has led to massive pushback, with one 12-year-old writing the Duval County school board to reimpose the mask mandate.
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Texas is far from the only state, in South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem was slammed for promoting the Sturgis rally, which will go ahead without any Covid-19 precautions at all. Flordia meanwhile, is seeing its worst number's yet. However, Texas has really become the battleground state thanks to Abbott's willingness to go to great lengths to ensure Texas doesn't have a mask mandate.
Mandate blocked till case can be heard
The legal battle over masks began when a county judge in Dallas allowed the county's mask mandate to go ahead, in defiance of Abbott's ban on mask mandates issued in July. The judge issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Abbott's ban on August 10. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas in Dallas ruled in favor of the county judge, stating he has the authority to manage the COVID-19 crisis on a local level.
That ruling led to Abbott and Texas AG Ken Paxton filing an appeal in the Texas Supreme Court. The court has now ruled that Abbott's mask mandate ban will stay in place, till it is resolved in lower courts. The Supreme Court ruling directly addresses both Dallas County and Bexar County, which attempted to impose mask mandates. The case will be heard in Bexar County on August 16, while Dallas has a hearing scheduled for August 24. As the City of San Antonio noted in a statement, the ruling has "little practical effect" as the TRO was set to expire on August 16 anyway, but it will likely cause more damage in Dallas where the hearing isn't for another week.
Interestingly, the Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) announced it will continue to enforce a mask mandate despite the Supreme Court ruling. "Certainly, we’re disappointed in the ruling, but not surprised. Obviously, this decision is being made with the health and safety of students and employees in Dallas ISD not considered," Rena Honea, the president of teacher union Alliance-AFT Dallas told Dallas News.
Abbott's widespread ban means school boards, municipalities, and counties can not decide whether or not they want to impose mask mandates, as Covid-19 cases climb. The ban has become a major issue for school boards, who are struggling to limit the spread of Covid-19, with in-person classes to resume from August 16. Young children are still not eligible for the vaccine, making them ideal vectors to spread the disease without adequate precautions.
'Texas Supreme Court is helping kill children'
The internet was furious that the court sided with Abbott, and quickly made its displeasure known. "The Texas Supreme Court is helping kill children to own the libs," one user tweeted. Another commented, "The most galling part of this is that it isn't even a good faith dispute. This isn't a legal issue where both sides have valid arguments. The Texas Disaster Act's text makes clear Abbott lacks the power to issue the EO. The Texas Supreme Court chose to be politicians, not judges." One user said, "The Texas Supreme Court is blocking mask mandates because they like to kill Texans, especially children."
The Texas Supreme Court is helping kill children to own the libs. https://t.co/dBbf6QArmV— Spiro Agnew’s Ghost (@SpiroAgnewGhost) August 15, 2021
The most galling part of this is that it isn't even a good faith dispute. This isn't a legal issue where both sides have valid arguments. The Texas Disaster Act's text makes clear Abbott lacks the power to issue the EO. The Texas Supreme Court chose to be politicians, not judges.— Snarky Lawyer (@SnarkedUpLawyer) August 15, 2021
The Texas Supreme Court is blocking mask mandates because they like to kill Texans, especially children.— Amy Lynn🧦❤️ (@AmyAThatcher) August 15, 2021
"The Texas Supreme Court was forced to act because its absolutely imperative that COVID spread in Texas schools as quickly as possible," one user mocked. Another slammed, "The Texas Supreme court struck down local mask mandates 24 hours before the start of school in Texas. This is tantamount to a Domestic Terror attack with Covid as the weapon of choice." Another user trolled, "The Texas Supreme Court (all R) just delivered a major victory for covid and death!"
The Texas Supreme Court was forced to act because its absolutely imperative that COVID spread in Texas schools as quickly as possible https://t.co/Rp0Kw9LNcD— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) August 15, 2021
The Texas Supreme court struck down local mask mandates 24 hours before the start of school in Texas. This is tantamount to a Domestic Terror attack with Covid as the weapon of choice. #RedSunday— Victor Ruiz -The Voice Of Rican- (@portarican_RT) August 15, 2021
The Texas Supreme Court (all R) just delivered a major victory for covid and death!— chris alan jones (@chrisalanjones) August 16, 2021
While the battle plays out in court, Abbott's decision is having serious consequences. Texas is now averaging around 13,943 cases (as of August 14), the highest since February. Worse still, deaths are up to an average of 135, a number last seen in March 2020. Just around 45% of the state is fully vaccinated, and just over 50% have had a single dose.