Hotze sues Harris County again

This is just what he does now, I suppose.

Houston conservative power broker Steve Hotze filed a lawsuit against Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Thursday, alleging that her order requiring people to cover their faces in public violates the Texas Constitution and conflicts with Gov. Greg Abbott’s stay-at-home order.

Hotze, who also sued Hidalgo over her stay-at-home directive, said in a petition filed in state district court that the mask rule is at odds with a provision of the Constitution that gives the Legislature “exclusive authority to define crimes and to designate the punishments for those crimes.” The petition also contends that Hidalgo cannot issue more restrictive orders than Abbott, who has not mandated that Texans wear masks in public.


Robert Soard, the first assistant county attorney, cited Section 418.108 of the Texas Government Code, which gives the county judge the authority to declare a disaster in her jurisdiction and to “control the movement of persons and the occupancy of premises in that area.” That authority extends to the incorporated and unincorporated parts of the county.

Soard said Hidalgo has authority to issue the mask order under that provision and another that allows her to “exercise the powers granted to the governor” for emergency management, including issuing local executive orders that “have the force and effect of law.”

In the petition, Hotze also challenged the part of Hidalgo’s order that requires people to wash their hands before leaving their residence, and stay six feet away from each other and avoid touching their face in public. Hotze argued the section of state law that governs disasters “does not contain any language forcing private citizens to” perform the actions in Hidalgo’s order.

See here for the background. According to the Trib story, there should be a hearing on a temporary injunction later today, and an appeal to the Supreme Court if/when they lose. So, you know, just another Friday. Hotze of course has two other lawsuits going, one against Harris County over the stay-at-home order, and one against Abbott and Paxton for more or less the same thing. It’s actually kind of hilarious to see him described as a “power broker” in the story, since he’s basically never been more out of power locally than he is now. But hey, he can still move a few votes in a Republican primary.

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29 Responses to Hotze sues Harris County again

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Good for Hotze. I have no problem if Lina la Exploradora uses her bully pulpit to ASK people to wash their hands, to wear funny hats, to turn their headlights on, to promote chupacabra awareness week, or anything else, but she’s not God, she can’t just make up new law by edict, based on whatever thought popped into her head that morning.

    This mask edict is particularly galling, because of its overarching scope. A long haul trucker transiting through Harris County, for example, would have to stop his rig at the border, put his mask on, then drive through the county, all while never stopping in the county at all. Is that about helping people or is that about an inexperienced young lady flexing power?

    The HPOA was correct to say they will not enforce this stuff. it’s complete bizarro world where criminals are being set loose on the populace, and now the jails are to be repopulated with formerly law abiding citizens.

    I’m no fan of Hotze, but at some point, people have to stand up to this capricious and nonsensical assault on our God given, natural rights, and I’m with anyone leading that charge, even if it is Hotze.

  2. Ross says:

    Bill, don’t be stupid. If you are alone in a vehicle, you don’t have to wear a mask.

  3. Mainstream says:

    Bill, I think your understanding of the order and of the law are both wrong.

    The trucker does not have to wear a mask while driving, nor do folks exercising alone, gardening in their yards, etc.

    The authority of the government to protect public health is fairly substantial. Though rarely used, sometimes the government quarantines TB patients or folks who have communicable diseases. A mask edict seems well within legal authority, although I would not be surprised if Gov. Abbott speaks to this on Monday and perhaps overrules it.

  4. Jules says:

    Ross, “Bill, don’t be stupid”, lol.

  5. Andrew Lynch says:

    The mask mandate is just creating division between the county and the Police who do not want to enforce the mask mandate.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    Ross and Mainstream,

    In my example, I mentioned a long haul trucker. Let me clarify. It’s “team” drivers, something not uncommon in long haul trucking. From the Chronicle:

    “Under the order, the county’s 4.7 million residents must cover their faces at all times except when exercising, eating or drinking; the exemptions also include when individuals are alone in a separate single space, at home with roommates or family, or when wearing a mask poses a greater risk to security, mental or physical health. Violating the mask rules is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, though Hidalgo urged police to use discretion.”

    Since there are two people in the truck cab, together, then it sure looks like to me that they would be eligible to be stopped and fined if they didn’t have masks on.

  7. Jules says:

    Bill, shut up. Quit trying to justify your stupid knee jerk comments.

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    In fact, what’s to stop any policeman from pulling over any driver with no mask, for suspicion of violating the order? Perhaps they have a child in the back seat, not visible? They would then be two people together outside without masks. Probable cause, right?

    All that stuff about our founding fathers, the reason for our revolution, the reason we have a Constitution and Bill of Rights limiting government….this is EXACTLY the time we need to be talking about that stuff. It’s not an academic exercise, it’s real life.

  9. Bill Daniels says:

    And to make this hit home for you guys, let’s look at an issue YOU care about. Were you upset when Gov. Abbott made a de facto edict to shut down abortion clinics, because of the virus? Didn’t that activate your inner libertarian instincts? This is all interrelated.

  10. Jules says:

    Bill, I hope you do get pulled over and thrown in jail, even there isn’t any jail time associated with this, which you falsely stated.

  11. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Andrew, the police do not set policy. Judge Hidalgo does. I understand that it may be the case that certain individuals at HPOU have been going on right wing radio and then parroting their spin. If theyve decided to he open proxies for Dan Patrick and Trump, that will end poorly for them.

  12. Bill Daniels says:


    If you are assessed a civil fine and don’t pay, the remedy is jail at some point. If there was no threat of escalation or jail, no one would ever pay a civil fine. Remember the red light cameras? Don’t pay, and some cities would try to not let you pay the license plate tax on your car, making you eligible to get stopped for a traffic ticket. Don’t pay the expired plate ticket, and boom, you go to jail. There’s just a few steps between not paying and jail, but the path is clear.

    There must be an escalation by government to get people to pay fines, and that’s it. It all eventually comes down to an armed agent of government forcing compliance.

    And Jules, that’s the difference between you and I. You wish bad juju on me. I don’t wish anything bad to happen to you, just because we disagree on policy. Think about that. You’re an enthusiastic cheerleader for the politics of personal destruction.

  13. Jules says:

    You are an idiot that has called me a cuck over and over and threatened to personally steal my tv. You have zero higher ground.

    Go away with your stupid arguments about how you meant 2 truck drivers and not one, and jail for not paying a fine, not a fine.

  14. brad says:


    I think the Lysol you injected is affecting your thinking.

    Please stop drinking the Trump/Jim Jones Kool-Aid.


  15. Bill Daniels says:


    I think the word you were searching for was ‘effecting.’

    But thanks for your concern. Jules could learn a lesson about caring and empathy from you. 🙂

  16. brad says:

    Alaska Bill,

    I am still amazed at your usage of the English language being that it is your second language malen’kiy russkiy drug.

    Hope they are paying you well. What’s your next gig after the 2020 election?

  17. Just came back from the Federal Grill. An open Restaurant. The world is coming to an end. If tonight goes well then they will be Open on Open Table. Lets do it. Lets open up the economy. They set the road map for a safe reopening. Check it out before you criticize.

  18. Manny says:

    51,000 deaths in two month, by August more Americans will have died that died fighting in Vietnam. Those 51,000 deaths are only the ones that were verified, many more death because of the virus have occurred, but were not counted.

    25% of all deaths in the world, because of the virus have occurred here in the United States.

    We may be looking at a Trump Depression, while Europe is doing much better than we are regarding employment. Could it be all those socialist ideas that they have?

    Wonder if a person contracts the virus at Federal Grill, if the owner and Grill will be sued for not providing proper protection for its customers.

    The world is not coming to an end it is just changing.

    If only that idiot that sits in the White House had made sure that enough testing was available we may have opened much sooner at much less of an economic and deaths, if only that idiot in the White House did not have as many idiots that believe in him. IF

  19. Manny says:

    economic cost

  20. Wolfgang says:


    So Woodfill is now in his “Fourth [!] Amended Petition, Applications for Emergency Temporary Restraining Order, Temporary Injunction, and Permanent Injunction.” Cause No. 2020-25311 – HOTZE, STEVEN (MD) vs. HIDALGO, LINA (Court 189)

    The docket does not reflect any ruling on his TRO request as of Saturday. In my opinion, the court does not have jurisdiction (yet, if ever) because Hidalgo’s mouth-and-nose-covering order is not yet in effect (and might be superseded by another order from the Governor next week).

    The County Attorney did an amazing job within 24 hours responding to the latest of Hotze’s legal stunts. Inter alia, he argues that Hidalgo’s order covers the same ground as Abbott’s order, and that therefore Abbott needs to be joined as a necessary party, and that both orders are consistent with the CDC recommendations as to how to how to stop the spread.

    The County Attorney also argues that Hotze does not have legal standing, and that neither Abbott nor Hidalgo are officials in charge of enforcement. The SCOTX ruling from Thursday on the TRO in Abbott’s Stay-in-Jail Order supports those arguments. Hotze has not shown that he faces an immediate threat of being prosecuted (and the Hidalgo order–unlike the Governor’s–does not even provide for jail as a sanction). Nor does he have any damages.

    With regard to the (de)merits …. think about it for a minute … Hotze, a medical doctor, goes to court claiming he has a constitutional right to NOT wash his hands and to invade the personal space of others to regal them potentially deadly breath, not just bad breath.

    And as for having to cover parts of the human body, what’s the big deal about the scarf or bandana? The state already has a well-recognized right to prohibit nudism in public. And nudist practices are only a matter of aesthetics and social conventions concerning propriety and “modesty”. In normal times, streaking and bare-chest displays may be an eyesore, but they don’t kill. Coronavirus exhalations potentially do, and folks who make it a point to attend crowed churches in times of a pandemic are more likely to become super-spreaders.

    If Hotze claims a legal right to inflict viral loads upon people around him, and acts accordingly, he needs to have a restraining order entered against him, not the County Judge. He has made himself a public health menace that needs to be contained.

  21. Bill Daniels says:

    “With regard to the (de)merits …. think about it for a minute … Hotze, a medical doctor, goes to court claiming he has a constitutional right to NOT wash his hands and to invade the personal space of others to regal them potentially deadly breath, not just bad breath.”

    I’m sorry, did I miss the part of the Constitution that enshrines our natural, God given rights, EXCEPT for doctors? Doctors aren’t entitled to the same protection FROM government as the unwashed masses are?

    “And as for having to cover parts of the human body, what’s the big deal about the scarf or bandana?”

    I mean, what’s the big deal about mandatory burkas, anyway? Those women caught behind the Islamic Curtain should be happy that the state cares enough about them to mandate that they wear tents out in public, right? It’s for their own health and safety so the men don’t have “sexual emergencies.”

    I do agree with Wolfgang about his arguments that the edict isn’t in force yet, and that Hotze hasn’t yet sustained damages or loss of liberty…..yet. One question I have is, you folks seem to be sticking on “it’s just a fine, not jail.” OK, what happens when I tell the ticketing officer to F-off, and that no payment will ever be tendered? In a purely civil justice system, Harris County would sue me for payment, then file a writ of execution to seize my property to be sold to satisfy the judgement, which then necessitates…..ARMED GOVERNMENT AGENTS taking my property by force if I refuse to pay when they show up.

    It’s still about compliance at gunpoint, with a few extra steps in between.

  22. Ross says:

    So, Bill, apparently you missed the irony in Wolfgang’s post. It is beyond ironic that a doctor, like Hotze, would think that it’s OK to breathe on people in a time of pandemic spread of disease. Most doctors would understand that the best way to prevent the spread is to wear a mask, just like they do when treating patients.

    The Constitution is not a suicide pact, and people like you and Hotze have no inherent right to force the rest of us to deal with your potentially germy, and fatal, breath.

  23. Ross says:

    Forgot to add that people like you, Bill, and most other alleged conservatives, shout about liberty, but never want to deal with the externalities of their “liberty based” behavior. We see this here, where Hotze et al don’t want to consider the potential external effect of them not wearing a mask. You live in a society, and the rest of us have a right to not be exposed to your germs, regardless of the impact on your alleged liberty.

  24. Bill Daniels says:


    There’s inherent, implied risk in living in a free society, and it has to be that way.

    Have we already forgotten the words of that racist, misogynistic, homophobic, Islamophobic, evil dead white guy?

    “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    ~ Ben Franklin

    You know, back in the day, when there was a quarantine to prevent contagion, they quarantined people who were sick….they didn’t quarantine the healthy. This is something new and frightening and is purely about control.

    You should be fighting the forced shutdown of all business as much as you fight the shutdown of abortion clinics. Your righteous indignation about the closed abortion clinics should be applied to all of this, including Lina la Exploradora’s mask diktat.

    I have no problem with Lina making suggestions to the citizenry, or making requests, but creating new laws out of thin air on a whim? No. Not OK.

    For what it’s worth, I’m also upset with Abbott for his statewide blanket diktat. People out in rural Texas are suffering greatly because of this, that don’t need to suffer. This is the biggest power grab I have seen by government in my lifetime. The conspiracy theorist in me says this is a trial balloon, to see just what they can get away with before actual revolt and armed insurrection by the citizenry.

  25. Ross says:

    Bill, there is inherent risk, but if you start coughing on me in public, there will be an issue. You do not get to have liberty by endangering others. It is really just that simple. Your liberty does not give you the right to endanger others, no matter how much that annoys you. And quit bringing up the old Franklin trope, it has nothing to do with this situation at all.

    BTW, I’ve never been indignant about closing abortion clinics. I get indignant when people think it’s any of their business what medical procedure a woman and her doctor think is appropriate. Or when people think it’s any of their business what consenting adults do with their genitals in private.

  26. Dave says:

    Bill, her name is Lina Hidalgo. Stop beimg racist and/or misogynistic.

  27. Nicholas says:

    Executive orders are inherently meant to be challenged by judicial review. Executive orders can be overturned if they infringe on liberties. You can disagree with the lawsuit, but you would approve of a lawsuit against an executive order you disagree with, so the process should not be lambasted.

    Personally, I believe that the complexity here is that Coronavirus is still in its infancy of being understood. To start wielding executive orders regarding it reveals an assumption of full understanding of the virus. It’s not the same as a hurricane, which is immediately understood and transparent. It baffles my brain that policymakers have the complete blindness in suggesting that they know beyond a doubt that quarantine policies dictate the behavior of the virus. This is an assumption, and an assumption that the masses don’t even think to question. Yet, in any other realm, you would need proof. So now there is an assumption of scientific authority, a veneer of scientific methodology, being used so confidently by policymakers.

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