Texas Republican Sue Governor Abbott on masks mandate

The lawyer who filed the lawsuit suggests that the state could require residents to wear gloves and protective suits in public if Governor Abbott's order is not challenged.

Conservative activists have filed a lawsuit against Texas governor Greg Abbott, who recently ordered that residents of Lone Star State wear masks in public.

The complaint was filed with the Travis District Court on Friday, according to the Fort Worth Star telegram. It was filed on behalf of a number of other conservative activists and organizers by the Houston area attorney, Jared Woodfill, former leader of the Harris County Republican Party. Woodfill represents Houston GOP activist Steven Hotze, former Republican MP Rick Green, and Cathie Adams, who served as the leader of the Texas Republican Party between 2009 and 2010.

Also included are two business owners from the Houston area.

Overall, according to the Star Telegram, the plaintiffs claim that Governor Abbott's order is unnecessary and unconstitutional. The lawsuit uses a slight exaggeration, suggesting that wearing a fabric mask in public poses a fundamental threat to the Texans' civil liberties.

"A mask today, a protective suit tomorrow – where does it end?" asks the lawsuit. "Every day [sic] GA-29 is in effect, the government is trampling on Texans' freedoms."

The star telegram states that Governor Abbott's order came into effect on Friday in response to a rapid resurgence of coronavirus cases in Texas.

"Whenever Governor Abbott issues unconstitutional mandates or orders as he describes them, we feel it is appropriate to challenge them," Woodfill told Texas ABC13. "If we can place a mask order, why can't we force people to wear gloves too? Why can't we force them to wear protective suits? Where does it end? Where does the government's role end?"

Woodfill told ABC13 that he would prefer Abbott to recall Texas legislation so that lawmakers can vote on what best he thinks the state should do.

But Texas is one of the first states to reopen shops and entertainment venues, and one of the first states to see infection rates rise again. Last week, Governor Abbott ordered the closure of bars and reduced the seating capacity of the restaurants.

"We have now reached a point where the virus is spreading so quickly that there are hardly any mistakes left," Abbott said on Thursday. "If we want to avoid barriers, if we want to protect those who are important to us, we need all Texans to join this effort."

While numerous recent studies have shown that the use of masks significantly prevents the likelihood that a person infected with coronavirus will pass the disease on to others, many Republican activists claim that science is "unsafe". The lawsuit, for example, mentions the “Change in Guidelines for Wearing Masks” and also claims that wearing a mask for an extended period of time can reduce oxygen intake.

Unfortunately, it is very likely that the sluggish US patchwork response to the novel corona virus has also contributed to the resurgence of the virus. President Donald Trump never gave the governors definitive instructions that allowed them to fight the disease as they saw fit.

The result is in contrast to many other parts of the world. In the European Union, which was at the center of the pandemic in April and May, infection rates have dropped so much that many E.U. Countries have started to open their borders to each other. Similarly, several nations in Asia – such as South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand – have virtually ruled out community transmission of coronaviruses.

ABC13 notes that Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo, herself recently exposed to the coronavirus, said Governor Abbott's face mask mandate is likely the right choice for public health. Hidalgo was particularly grateful for the Order's promise to impose fines on offenders.

"I welcome the opportunity to make facegear enforceable in Harris County," Hidalgo wrote. "Every instrument our country can use to contain this crisis saves lives and brings us closer to a day on which we can coexist with the virus in the long term."


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