Hotze goes crying to the Supreme Court

This effing guy, I swear.

Houston conservative activist Steve Hotze on Monday filed a petition with the Texas Supreme Court seeking an emergency ruling on Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s mask order, which took effect this morning.

Hotze originally filed the lawsuit in state court last week, but District Judge Steven Kirkland on Friday denied his request for a temporary restraining order, allowing Hidalgo’s mandate to take effect Monday, as planned.

Hotze’s new filing echoes the argument he made to Kirkland: that the Texas Constitution and local government code do not give Hidalgo authority to require people to cover their faces in public.


During a Friday hearing in Kirkland’s court, Assistant County Attorney Seth Hopkins argued that Hotze did not have standing to challenge the order because he had no “actual imminent fear of prosecution.”

“The order itself tells the law enforcement, use broad discretion,” Hopkins said, according to a court transcript. “And the plaintiff concedes he’s not going to be prosecuted.”

Hotze attorney Jared Woodfill responded, “So, I guess my question is, if they don’t plan to enforce it, then why is the language even there? Why wouldn’t it just continue to be voluntary…?” He also clarified Monday that Hotze does not “concede he’s not going to be prosecuted” under the order.

Hopkins said the order allows officers to impose a fine if there is an “extreme case, but I think in the examples we have, we don’t have a case like that right now.”

See here for the background. We now have the Abbott reopening order, which overrules any local order that allows for a fine or other punishment for non-mask-wearing. I would think, in my non-lawyerly way, that Harris County will add that to its argument that Hotze has no standing. The Supreme Court has asked for a response from the county by this Friday, so we’ll see.

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10 Responses to Hotze goes crying to the Supreme Court

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    “I would think, in my non-lawyerly way, that Harris County will add that to its argument that Hotze has no standing.”

    Kuff, I get what you’re saying, but honestly, if the roles were reversed, and it was a conservative county judge’s order having been overruled by a liberal governor in practice, wouldn’t you still want the smug satisfaction of spiking the ball by getting a court judgement against the conservative county judge? Would you be satisfied that the issue has been resolved in your favor, or would you enjoy seeing a court put the smack down on the conservative judge, too, just for good measure?

    That’s where Hotze is now. It’s just as much about the issue as it is trying to humiliate a political rival.

    This is why Paxton sued the Obama administration every other week, and why the NY and CA attorney generals sue the Trump administration every other week. Some of it is righteous indignation over policy, of course, but probably an equal part of it is just team sports.

    I’ll just wait for Wolfgang to tell us all how politics is not actually team sports.

  2. I agree with you Bill. However, I do think Governor Abbott’s order makes the lawsuit Moot.

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    the lawsuit seems pointless, now. The governor has said that nobody can be prosecuted, fined, or otherwise punished for not wearing a mask, so, since there is not a consequence, there seems no point in pursuing the court case.

  4. brad says:


    Can we focus on what is most important here?…Trump’s excellent job handling this public health crisis.

    Clearly we are winning. Although I am now beginning to agree with Trump that I am tired of winning so much

  5. C.L. says:

    @Brad… Any more realized (pandemic) success from this Administration and I’D be on a ventilator from jumping up and down so much while patting myself on the back while tooting my own horn while giving myself high fives.

    1,000,000 cases and 60,000 dead… a 6% mortality rate. More US citizens have died from this virus in five months than died in the entire Vietnam War, 1955-75.

  6. Robert says:

    Odd how someone fighting for your liberty is an “effing guy.”

  7. C.L. says:

    I don’t feel I’m being denied any Constitutionally-granted rights at all. I’m free to go where I want, when I want to go there. The pizza parlour I want to patronize may not be open, the Cinemark movie house may not be open, and Kroger may only be letting in 20 at a time, but I don’t feel like my liberty is being infringed upon.

  8. Manny says:

    Correction C.L. it has been two months for those deaths to occur, even in you start with January, I have not read that any death occurred in that month, it is still only four months.

    over 25% of the world’s death are Americans. We are now accepting help from Egypt while China is helping Mexico with medical supplies.

    Trump and the Republicans because of their failure to properly act when they knew it was happening in December can be blamed for the economy, Trump Depression, they can be blamed that as a country our economy is in worse shape than any other major country, they engaged in a cover up when they should have been preparing.

    In the USA, there have been 1,003,625 cases with 57,533 deaths. 114,699 people have recovered from the virus.

  9. Jules says:

    At least Pence isn’t a pussy. Mayo clinic don’t make Mother’s boy wear a mask!

  10. Wolfgang says:

    While I am mulling over the weighty question of whether I should take the bait on the politics-as-team-sports matter, here is today’s update on the Hotze v. Hidalgo II:

    Hidalgo has signed an amended order to bring to original face-covering order in line with the Governor’s re-opening order. No more fines, but exhortation remains.

    Since there are no longer any penalties, Hotze’s complaint should again be moot, but we shall see. IMHO, Judge Kirkland had no jurisdiction to grant or deny the TRO to begin with for lack of standing and ripeness, if not absence of a necessary party (namely the Gov) from the suit, and the TRO denial order is void for that reason; but even if I am wrong, the SCOTX mandamus opinion/writ will be too late in any event because Kirkland won’t be ancillary judge any more, come May 1, 2020, which is the due date for the County’s response. (Mandamus writs are conventionally judge-specific, rather than court-specific). But perhaps we will see an ad hoc ruling to establish a new mandamus rule. It wouldn’t be the first time. Or perhaps we will once more see an accelerated opinion release so the SCOTX can please the Republican base, and so the recent appointees can demonstrate their gratitude for their respective supreme-council seats by validating Abbott’s move to deny local leaders the ability to do what they deem best for the people that elected them. Note that the Supremes rushed to rule for Abbott on the case challenging the STAY-IN-JAIL order by granting a stay on a Saturday, and then issued their opinion on a Thursday (rather than Friday morning, as is the routine) because the TRO was going to expire the day after.
    Symbiosis this is, not separation of powers.

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