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Paxton sues several school districts over mask mandates

Whatever, dude.

Best mugshot ever

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Friday that he filed a lawsuit against Richardson ISD, following through on his pledge to sue school districts who mandate masks.

The district defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order prohibiting local entities from requiring masks. The RISD trustees voted last week to affirm Superintendent Jeannie Stone’s decision to require face coverings, after they were forced to close an elementary school because of a spike in COVID-19 cases and a sixth grader was admitted into the intensive care unit.

Paxton noted in a release that the office anticipates filing additional lawsuits against the districts flouting the governor’s order. This could include Dallas ISD — the first to openly defy Abbott.

“Not only are superintendents across Texas openly violating state law, but they are using district resources—that ought to be used for teacher merit raises or other educational benefits—to defend their unlawful political maneuvering,” Paxton said in a statement.

[…]

Richardson is among the first Texas districts to be sued by Paxton. Friday he also filed suit against the Galveston, Elgin, Spring and Sherman school districts, according to his office.

He has railed against the dozens of school districts and counties who stood firm on mask mandates, repeatedly posting on social media that he would sue them all. Paxton’s office maintains an ever-evolving list of local entities that are mandating masks.

Meanwhile, Abbott’s order is tied up in both state and federal courts as districts and advocates push for mask mandates to be local decisions.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is locked in a legal fight with the state over his decision to impose a local mask mandate for businesses and schools.

Disability Rights Texas recently escalated the legal battle, filing a federal lawsuit against Abbott, alleging his order unfairly harms children with disabilities.

Richardson trustees also recently voted to join an existing multi-district lawsuit challenging Abbott’s ban, which argues the governor’s executive order exceeds his authority and infringes on local control.

Paxton’s move could have federal implications, as well. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently opened investigations into five states that prohibit mask mandates, saying such bans may violate the federal law meant to protect students with disabilities.

Department officials indicated they had not opened an investigation into Texas because its ban isn’t currently being enforced because of court orders.

Again, neither Ken Paxton nor Greg Abbott has the power to enforce mask mandate bans. Even if Paxton gets a judge to rule in his favor – the score so far is tilted pretty heavily against him – local DAs can and should thumb their noses at him. It’s not clear to me where these lawsuits have been filed – in this press release he said there were three of them, but didn’t get more specific than that. There may be more coming, so eventually we’ll sort it all out. In the meantime, Paxton can go pound sand. The Chron, Reform Austin, and KXAN have more.

UPDATE: Here’s the Trib story, which notes that the lawsuit against Galveston ISD was brought in Galveston County, as one might expect. That’s probably true of the others, each filed in their home county, but it would still be nice to have that confirmed.

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15 Comments

  1. policywonqueria says:

    CLASSROOMS AS KILLING CHAMBERS

    The objective of these lawsuits is reprehensible, and the motivation sinister.

    Playing parens patriae and sickening and potentially killing kids while they are captives in the compulsory public school system.

    Where is the pro-life commitment here?

    Paxton’s webmaster hasn’t linked the Original Petition(s) to the press release (as they do on other occasions), but we can guess what he is arguing, based on his infamous track record. That Abbott is the Commander-in-Chief of the State and therefore of the public school districts as political subdivisions and that his word (EO) has has the force of law that trumps anything and everything else.

    So, like any third-rate third-world autocrat who has suspended the constitution and assumed emergency powers, he gets to kick his subordinates around at his whim and can force them to serve as accomplices in the sickening of the young for personal political gain in the upcoming primaries. So he can keep himself in power and claim democratic legitimacy.

    MASTERY OF ONE-MAN RULE

    General Paxton’s litigation lieutenants will no doubt argue that whatever the Commander in Chief orders with reference to the Texas Disaster Act — no matter how foolish or antithetical to mitigating the human toll of the ongoing disaster — must be obeyed because it preempts anything that local governments and special districts want to do or are doing to protect their charges and staff because they are all subservient to Abbott, the Master.

    Texans can have only one Master, and the Master must be obeyed.

    THE PURPOSES OF THE TEXAS DISASTER ACT

    CHAPTER 418. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

    SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

    Sec. 418.001. SHORT TITLE. This chapter may be cited as the Texas Disaster Act of 1975.

    Sec. 418.002. PURPOSES. The purposes of this chapter are to:

    (1) reduce vulnerability of people and communities of this state to damage, injury, and loss of life and property resulting from natural or man-made catastrophes, riots, or hostile military or paramilitary action;

    (2) prepare for prompt and efficient rescue, care, and treatment of persons victimized or threatened by disaster;

    (3) provide a setting conducive to the rapid and orderly restoration and rehabilitation of persons and property affected by disasters;

    (4) clarify and strengthen the roles of the governor, state agencies, the judicial branch of state government, and local governments in prevention of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from disasters;

    (5) authorize and provide for cooperation in disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery;

    (6) authorize and provide for coordination of activities relating to disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery by agencies and officers of this state, and similar state-local, interstate, federal-state, and foreign activities in which the state and its political subdivisions may participate;

    (7) provide an emergency management system embodying all aspects of predisaster preparedness and postdisaster response;

    (8) assist in mitigation of disasters caused or aggravated by inadequate planning for and regulation of public and private facilities and land use;

    (9) encourage state agencies, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, private entities, and individuals to adopt the goals of the strategic plan of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for preparing for, responding to, and recovering from a disaster that emphasize cooperation among federal agencies, state agencies, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, private entities, and individuals in each activity or project undertaken to ensure that this state is prepared to effectively respond to and recover from a disaster; and

    (10) provide the authority and mechanism to respond to an energy emergency.

    FULL TEXT OF TDA: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/GV/htm/GV.418.htm

  2. Jason Hochman says:

    whoa, let’s relax. Potentially killing kids? The kids are more likely to OD or commit suicide due to the crazed restrictions. The COVID 19 virus is not fatal to kids very often. The whole Big Lie that this was the deadliest virus ever was what caused the election to be wrong.

    We need some what aboutism. We have Boiden as president. Nearly a moron, he allegedly, per a whistle blower, has been pouring scalding water on the kids in his cages. It is time to get the 25th Amendment off the mothballs and get rid of this incompetent.

    The fair thing to do, would be for his boss, Mrs. Harris to step down, and then Biden could appoint my Golden Hero, Trump, as VP, and then Biden could resign, and Trump could return to power. Trump kept us safer.

  3. Adoile Turner III says:

    uhmm i hate people are acting as if someone is forcing them to NOT wear masks. these mandates are crazy people should be able to chose wether they want to mask all day or not.

  4. Jason Hochman says:

    @Adoile Turner, I agree. It is also sad that the parents, teachers, principals, and in some cases, the students, can’t have a meeting and perhaps come up with a policy or guidelines for wearing masks voluntarily. Why do they need some government bureaucrat to make some mandate? They want to infantilize the populace and make everyone depend on the government.

  5. C.L. says:

    So check this out, Dr. Hochman… overdosing and suicide isn’t a contagion sweeping the world, regardless of the age bracket you’re in. Crazy, right ? <94K drug overdoses and <45K suicides in the US in 2020…and 375K deaths attributed to COVID.

    It floors me to think you’re somehow working in a medical field capacity.

  6. SocraticGadfly says:

    Adolf Turner, fail. Oh, do you not send your kids to school because of childhood vaccine mandates?

    Major Hochstetter, actually, wingnut kids are OD-ing on adult wingnut misinformation. And, do you too keep kids out of school cuz of childhood vax mandates?

  7. Joel says:

    anyone else noticed this village is missing one of its idiots lately?

    maybe the ivermectin is kicking in.

  8. Jason Hochman says:

    The Science Says:
    Abstract

    In 2015, the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, in its only award for treatments of infectious diseases since six decades prior, honoured the discovery of ivermectin (IVM), a multifaceted drug deployed against some of the world’s most devastating tropical diseases. Since March 2020, when IVM was first used against a new global scourge, COVID-19, more than 20 randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have tracked such inpatient and outpatient treatments. Six of seven meta-analyses of IVM treatment RCTs reporting in 2021 found notable reductions in COVID-19 fatalities, with a mean 31% relative risk of mortality vs. controls. During mass IVM treatments in Peru, excess deaths fell by a mean of 74% over 30 days in its ten states with the most extensive treatments. Reductions in deaths correlated with the extent of IVM distributions in all 25 states with p < 0.002. Sharp reductions in morbidity using IVM were also observed in two animal models, of SARS-CoV-2 and a related betacoronavirus. The indicated biological mechanism of IVM, competitive binding with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, is likely non-epitope specific, possibly yielding full efficacy against emerging viral mutant strains.

  9. Jason Hochman says:

    C.L, You have lost sight of reality.
    The Science Says:

    Center for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield said in a Buck Institute webinar that suicides and drug overdoses have surpassed the death rate for COVID-19 among high school students. Redfield argued that lockdowns and lack of public schooling constituted a disproportionally negative impact on young peoples’ mental health.

    C.L, why do you want kids to die?

  10. policywonqueria says:

    Re: Abstract on ivermectin study (Jason Hochman)

    Sir,

    We are agnostic at this point about this substance. The interested public obviously cannot independently verify the efficacy and safety of pharmaceutical substances and has to trust the best available expertise. That’s why approval agencies, such as the FDA, are essential.

    You did not provide a link or citation to the purported study you reference, or address whether the FDA (or equivalent agency in jurisdictions elsewhere in the world) has approved such vet medicine for human applications.

    Would you rectify that deficiency and add apprporiate disclaimers?

    We found this: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/product-safety-information/faq-covid-19-and-ivermectin-intended-animals

  11. Jason Hochman says:

    Ivermectin is FDA approved for human use, unlike the vaccines, which, until the Pifizer product was approved a week or two ago, were not.

    Anyone calling Ivermectin “horse medicine” is misrepresenting the information. Sure, it is given to dogs, horses, cats, cattle. So is penicillin, aspirin, and benadryl. However, it is important to check proper dosage and formulation if using a medication intended for a 1,000 lb. animal for a 160 lb. person. Likewise, if you want to give benadryl to a pet, you can use the capsules that you get at the store, but you need to give the correct dosage.

    Ivermectin is FDA approved in humans for parasitic infection, not for COVID or anti-viral. But many medications are used “off label.” Best to get a prescription from your doctor before taking it.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34466270/

  12. Kibitzer says:

    Hochman, that’s better, though it doesn’t answer the question of what happened to Bill Daniels.

    Perhaps he took the Longhorn, rather than German Shepherd dosage. Perhaps he cried Wolf too much. Perhaps he “needed” to be culled from the herd because he was putting out too prodigious an amount of methane-rich daily droppings. This kibitzer favors the latter supposition, but has only circumstantial evidence at this juncture: Piece 1: This time, no one spoke suggesting a potential residual value of BD’s disagreeable speech before he faded from the forum. Piece 2: See below.

    ABORTION VIGILANTISM: DIAGNOSIS AND REMEDIES

    RE: “sabotage the site by flooding it with false reports” … “crashed the site”

    Interesting to see this being advocated for and applauded. Do the miscellaneous initiatives not constitute cyber crimes? Akin to a coordinated denial-of-service attack? And with no doubt regarding malice aforethought. Or “mens rea” as currently being litigating in the Court of Criminal Appeals in the case of Crystal Mason with the help of a bevy of amici. (Not in the Texas Supreme Court, Reform Austni!). See here: https://search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=PD-0881-20&coa=coscca

    Or does the legality of it all hinge on the nature of the speech that is to be suppressed?

    Also, on a lexical note:

    VIGILANTE

    noun, a member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate.

    NOTA BENE: “without legal authority” is part of the definition

    Since the enacted version of SB 8 – officially denominated THE TEXAS HEARTBEAT ACT — expressly authorizes private lawsuits, how can it be said that would-be plaintiffs are vigilantes? It is, much rather the opposite: with legal authority.

    As for attacking websites of any kind for the purpose of disabling them, on the other hand, where is the legal authority for that act or course of co-ordianted conduct?

    It would seem that the coordinated attack on the “whistleblower” site and the definition of vigilantism make for a better fit, though not perfect either.

    MOB JUSTICE VERSUS CONTRACT-COMPLIANCE DISPUTE

    A violation of the terms of service, and a termination of service based an assertion of concompliance, on the other hand, are contractual matters between the hosting company and the operator of the website as to the content and usage options. If there is a dispute, it could be addressed by a court of competent jurisdiction, and immediate injunctive relief might even be available, depending on which side in the dispute has the better argument, or at least a plausible claim for preserving “the status quo” pending an evidentiary hearing on the preliminary merits.

    Note also that removing BD from the Kuff comment space fits neither scenario. As web property and forum owner, Kuff can censor as he sees fit. Kuff is not a state actor, and not constrained by “Congress shall make no law … suppressing disagreeable ideas or odious thoughts.” The First Amendment, much rather, provides protection against being censored by the government in a public forum.

    In any event, if you will recall, our Bill von Rednecksville here was in favor of abortion, rather then against it, as a means to keep the brown and black component of the herd down in numbers.

    THE CONCEPT OF A “VIGILANTE LAWSUIT” IS AN OXYMORON

    See, e.g., Todd J. Gillman, Not one vigilante lawsuit [sic] yet, but new Texas law has cut abortion to a trickle and kept courts busy. DALLAS MORNING NEWS (Sept. 10, 2021), and many others.

    Why is this oxymoronic? – Pretty straightforward: Because a Texas state judge (in his or her official adjudicatory capacity) would entertain such a suit in conformity with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, and enter judgment on such a claim based on a duly enacted law, either for the Plaintiff or for the Defendant.

    The plaintiff cannot “take the law into their own hands” to achieve the result being condemned by the SB 8 opponents. A judge would have award the statutory damages if the case is meritorious and (perhaps) not if found meretricious.

    The most lucrative defendants, of course, are all lawyered up already, and would challenge the constitutionality of SB 8 long before the time were to come for judgment. So, it may never come to an award of “statutory damages”, which, by the way, are not a “cash prize”. Lady Justice Sonya is mistaken in that regard. If there were such an award by judgment (i.e., mere numbers and words on a piece of paper or PDF equivalent), the losing defendant could prevent enforcement (collection) of the judgment amount with a supersedeas bond, pending resolution of the constitutional question on appeal.

    It follows from the need to go to court to litigate the SB 8 claim that the so-called SB 8 “bounty lawsuit” is — whether we like it or not — within the law, not outside the law.

    To put it differently: Since such a lawsuit is currently expressly authorized by Texas law as enacted by Republican lawmakers and signed by Republican Governor, it could not satisfy the definition of vigilantism if such a lawsuit were to be brought in line with legislative intent.

    At least as long as there has not been an authoritative ruling that SB 8 as a whole, or the private-enforcement component of it specifically, is unconstitutional. In the meantime, the opinion of President Biden and his Justice Department is merely a position in litigation (albeit an important one). In the end, the executive branch doesn’t have the last word in constitutional interpretation.

    SOME CATEGORIES OF PLAINTIFFS WOULD HAVE ACTUAL DAMAGES FOR STANDING PURPOSES

    There is another reason why the bounty-hunter analogy is unavailing, and that goes to the motivations that may play a role. A bounty hunter would be motivated by pecuniary gain, just as a Texas lawyer when advertising for car & truck wreck victims to recruit them for negligence cases on a contingent-fee basis against whoever caused the wreck.

    Genuine MV wreck victims would have suffered injury and would therefore have standing to litigate such lawsuits with the help of a lawyer, but he same could be true of certain classes of SB 8 plaintiffs also.

    Even in the absence of a concrete case, it stands to reason that some folks could have a stake in the matter of an illegal abortion unrelated to any desire to collect statutory damages of $10,000 and up as a windfall.

    WHO MIGHT BE AFFECTED BY & SUFFER AS A RESULT OF AN ILLEGAL ABORTION ?

    While the lack of standing based on an actual injury on the part of a would-be SB 8 plaintiff raises doubts about the viability of such lawsuits as a threshold jurisdictional matter (one possible way Texas courts might deal with SB 8 lawsuits, even sua sponte, i.e. without a plea to the jurisdiction before them), that legal infirmity would not describe all plaintiffs across the board.

    PROSPECTIVE ADOPTION AND SB 8

    What if a good samaritan or a prospective adoptive couple agreed to pay — and did pay — for a pregnant woman’s prenatal care in real time (and perhaps provide board and lodging at not cost to her), and Planned Parenthood or other abortion promoters later persuaded that pregnant women to come in and get an abortion?

    You could hardly deny that the thwarted adoptive parents would be out of the money they paid for the prenatal care for the woman and the child she was carrying. Whether they can recoup that or not is a different question, but it would be undisputed that they have out-of-pocket expenses and that the purpose of these expenses — faciliating the pregnancy being carried to term, and a child being born — was thwarted. They would not have incurred these expenses otherwise. So there is the causal connection, and the actual damages caused by the illegal abortion. At least for standing purposes, that should suffice, irrespective of whether there was a legally valid gestational/adoption agreement or some sort of equitable common-law theory can be invoked as a substitute.

  13. Jason Hochman says:

    Did something happen to Bill Daniels? I don’t see the rest of the discussion that you gave as being related to that…

  14. […] out, for a guy who claims he can’t enforce Abbott’s mask mandate ban order, he sure is suing a lot of people to do just exactly that. So which one is true? We’ll see what the judge makes […]

  15. […] here for the background. That’s the whole Chron story – the Galveston County News covered […]