A.G Paxton Sues Austin Over COVID-19 Over Reach
After a week of contentious debate, Friday evening the Texas Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus in the favor of Attorney General Paxton and Governor Abbott, finding that the City of Austin did not have the authority to reinstitute dine-in curfews.
The battle between city and state began as a result of Governor Abbott’s executive order GA-32, with the area of contention being a series of reductions on COVID-19 mitigative measures and new restrictions pertaining to areas with recently increased levels of hospitalizations. Mayor Adler who had recently taken flack for vacationing in Cabo, Mexico after having cautioned Austinites to not relax during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Austin Public Health last Tuesday implemented a curfew on New Years’ restricting dine-in restaurants to only operating between the times of 6 am to 10:30 pm. This curfew impacted dine-in restaurants and eateries business during one of the busiest seasons of the year.
In response to Mayor Adler’s newest set of guidelines, Governor Abbott wrote on Twitter that,
“This shutdown order by Austin isn’t allowed. Period. My executive order stops cities like Austin from arbitrarily shutting down businesses. The city has a responsibility to enforce existing orders, not make new ones.”
The Governor is not incorrect, GA-32 states in section 418.012, the governor has the authority to issue executive orders during times of emergency that have the force of law and shall supersede any order in place by any inferior government and its officials.
Following Austin’s unwillingness to back down from the new curfew orders, A.G. Paxton filed suit against the City of Austin Thursday due to their violation of GA-32 in Travis County, with the hopes that the court would grant a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction. Unfortunately, Judge Meachum of the 201st District Court wrote,
“The Court finds the State has not demonstrated a probable right to the relief sought nor imminent and irreparable harm.”
With the 201st District Court’s ruling lost, A.G. Paxton then appealed in Texas Supreme Court and won the case. Later A.G Paxton remarked that essentially, local authority’s oppressive mandates do not take into consideration all of the public’s business concerns do not supersede the orders of the State. The Attorney General Paxton’s statement would end by wishing all Texans alike a safe New Year’s celebration, as well as cautioning safety during the end-of-year celebration for 2020.