On Sunday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) had the authority to implement a ban on mask mandates at the local level, despite efforts by several local governments to sue the governor over the ban, as reported by The Hill.
The ruling came after several district court judges had attempted to impose restraining orders against the ban. As of Friday, these orders allowed local governments to order mask mandates in defiance of the governor’s executive order. The restraining orders against Abbott came from the heavily Democratic areas of Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties; the Sunday ruling by the Supreme Court overrides the appellate courts’ previous rulings.
Governor Abbott, who first signed the executive order on July 29th, celebrated the court’s ruling while also noting that his order does not ban people from wearing masks, and those who voluntarily wish to do so may continue wearing masks. However, Abbott emphasized the importance of letting Americans make their own choices with how to move forward in the pandemic, saying that “the path forward relies on personal responsibility.”
But despite the ruling of the state’s highest court, several of the counties in question appear to be moving forward with their own mask mandates. At least two major school districts, Dallas Independent School District and Crowley Independent School District, have indicated that they will continue enforcing the wearing of masks when school starts again in the fall. Bexar County, which includes the city of San Antonio, will also force its students to wear masks at the start of the new school year.
Abbott vowed to continue fighting these mask mandates and any other similar measures at the local level, saying that “the state of Texas will continue to vigorously fight the temporary restraining order to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans.”