Is This The Next Texas Civil War?

Ash Jurberg
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

“The rebellion is spreading across the state,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff

The battlelines in Texas have been drawn. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are on one side. On the other side are city mayors and school superintendents. The war is over masks.

Gov Abbott has been adamant that mask mandates will not be imposed in Texas despite the surging COVID cases. On Tuesday, he reiterated this, stating:

"Under Executive Order GA-38, no governmental entity can require or mandate the wearing of masks," 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." Gov Abbott

AG Paxton backed him.

This isn't the first time we have dealt with activist characters. It's deja vu all over again. 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."

Ron Nirenberg won the first battle in the war. Mayor of San Antonio. On Tuesday, Judge Antonia Arteaga approved a lawsuit filed by San Antonio and Bexar County. The lawsuit heard in Texas’s 57th Civil District Court was a request for a temporary restraining order to allow schools to enforce a mask mandate.

The temporary restraining order will remain in effect until another court hearing currently scheduled for next Monday.

The ruling by Judge Arteaga allows the city and county to “immediately issue an order requiring masks in public schools and requiring quarantine if an unvaccinated student is determined to be in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.” As a result, face masks will be required for Bexar County and San Antonio employees and visitors to city and county facilities.

Yesterday the next blow was struck by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. He went a step further than Judge Arteaga and mandated that child care centers and businesses must also require employees and customers to wear masks.

We are all team public health and the enemy is the virus. Right now, the enemy is winning.”Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

Travis County was the next to impose masks at schools across the county.

Abbott and Paxton have already asked the 5th Court of Appeals to overturn the state district judge’s decision that allowed Jenkins to move forward. They have also threatened to sue any government official who defies Abbott’s order.

Not willing to back down, some city officials have taken to media to give the issue national attention. Mayor Nirenberg appeared on MSNBC with Rachel Maddow in which he criticized Abbott's handling of the crisis in Texas.

"The Delta surge is so dangerous and so rampant that every day matters. So we contended that the governor used his emergency powers unconstitutionally to bind the hands of our local officials, our public health authority from dealing with the actual emergency. It's tragically ironic that he would use his emergency powers to prevent us form dealing with the emergency." 

The actions of the state counties have been likened to a rebellion. To me, it seems like a civil war with two distinct sides fighting as a pandemic rages.

Readers, what do you think? Are you on the side of Abbott and Paxton, or do you agree with the counties taking action against Abbott and his mandate?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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San Antonio, TX

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