The Texas Supreme Court on Sunday ruled in favor of upholding Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) order prohibiting mask mandates, a win for the governor after local entities across the state attempted to defy him.
The state Supreme Court action blocked temporary restraining orders that came from district judges. The orders, upheld Friday by intermediate appellate courts, made it possible for local authorities to temporarily override the state mask requirement ban, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
The series of Friday rulings temporarily allowed Texas's four most populous counties — Harris, Dallas, Bexar and Travis — to enforce mask mandates. The state Supreme Court ruling has now blocked them, although trial court hearings scheduled for Monday in San Antonio and Aug. 24 in Dallas, where decisions will be made as to issue temporary injunctions that would allow mask mandates, will still proceed.
Abbott, who issued the executive order against mask requirements on July 29, celebrated the Supreme Court decision on Twitter. His order doesn't stop those who want to take protective steps from doing so, he argued.
"The ban doesn't prohibit using masks," he wrote. "Anyone who wants to wear a mask can do so, including in schools."
BREAKING: The Texas Supreme Court imposes a temporary halt to lower court decisions that overruled the State ban on mask mandates.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) August 15, 2021
The ban doesn't prohibit using masks. Anyone who wants to wear a mask can do so, including in schools.https://t.co/QeVipZMPWH
In a statement last week, Abbott slammed government mandates, saying "the path forward relies on personal responsibility.
He added, "The State of Texas will continue to vigorously fight the temporary restraining order to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans."
Some local entities have already pushed back on the ruling, including the Dallas Independent School District, the second-largest school district in the state, and the Crowley Independent School District, according to reports from CBS 11 DFW. The mask mandate will stand when students return to campus tomorrow.
The Bexar County health authority’s public school mask mandate still remains in place, despite the Supreme Court ruling, according to a statement shared by the City of San Antonio.