Court Upholds El Paso County Judge’s Shutdown Order
El Paso is in the middle of a terrifying spike in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations and the scary rise in COVID-19 cases spurred El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego and Mayor Dee Margo to put restrictions into place a couple of weeks ago to try and slow the spread. Because those didn't seem to be working, Samaniego shocked El Pasoans when he put a two-week shutdown into place.
Almost immediately, Margo sought clarification from the Texas Attorney General about whether Samaniego's additional order was legal. There was a lot of embarrassing back and forth between local and state officials, and earlier this week, the whole thing landed in court.
The state's 34th District Court heard a request as part of a lawsuit from Ken Paxton and several El Paso restaurant owners who were trying to get a temporary injunction to block Samaniego's order that shut down, among other things, in-restaurant dining.
In the lawsuit Samaniego is accused of violating Governor Greg Abbott's emergency orders that reopened the businesses and activities that Samaniego's shut down. The court heard oral arguments for about an hour and a half and today the judge delivered his ruling via a video posted to YouTube.
The judge said that all the attorneys researched the issues, but ultimately did not make their case to overturn Samaniego's order. That means the order will stay in place through November 11 unless an expected appeal overturns Samaniego's order. This case could end up in the Texas Supreme Court, and it could also be used by Samaniego in future orders if no appeals court overturns today's decision by the judge.
But for real, calm down. This particular order expires next Wednesday. If everyone would spend as much time following the order than they do fighting it, we wouldn't need the shutdown.