Texas Appeals Court Weighs In On El Paso County Judge Shutdown Order
The numbers in El Paso County are skyrocketing and there is seemingly no end in sight. Two weeks ago, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego put a shutdown and stay at home order in place that was widely not followed by restaurants and retail outlets, or for that matter by El Paso citizens either. There was a court battle between Samaniego, a number of El Paso restaurants, and the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton over the order. The group said that the order overturned Texas Governor Greg Abbott's order and was illegal. The El Paso Police Department weighed in saying that they wouldn't enforce the order, but the El Paso County Sheriff's Department and the Constables said they would and they did. There were a number of restaurants that were cited for not following Samaniego's order and a couple even had their licenses suspended for a time.
Last week, the lawsuit brought by the restaurant owners and the Attorney General was heard by a state judge who said the order was legal and that it needed to be enforced. The EPPD said they would begin enforcing it after the Friday decision by the judge, and more restaurants were cited for not following the order.
Late Friday afternoon, a state appeals court finally weighed in on the state judge's ruling that El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego's shutdown order was legal and should remain in place.
The appellate court said that the lower court was wrong to not put a stop to Samaniego's order. The Eighth Court of Appeals told the judge of the lower court to put the temporary injunction against Samaniego's order into place. The order, as a result, cannot be enforced.
The appellate court ruled 2-1 that the County's order conflicts with Texas Governor Greg Abbott's order, and his order must stand.
Personally, I think this is idiotic. When Central and East Texas were on fire with COVID, El Paso was under a stricter order even though our numbers were as high as theirs, but now that we are in real trouble, the Governor is leaving us to deal with a house on fire and only giving us a thimble of water to put it out. This was an unconscionable move by the appellate court and El Paso is going to pay for their foolish decision.