Texas’ attorney general rebuked Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (D) for mandating masks and removing elected Republican Commissioner J.J. Koch from a commissioners court meeting for being maskless. The judge has been given three days to end his mandate.
On August 3, Jenkins had Koch escorted out of a commissioners court meeting for refusing to abide by his mask mandate.
Three days later, Attorney General Ken Paxton emailed a letter rebuking Jenkins. Referencing Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent executive order banning local officials from issuing mask mandates, Paxton told Jenkins, “Your actions exceeded your authority,” and that the commissioners court is subject to Abbott’s executive orders.
“Moreover, by violating the Governor’s order, you have compromised a county commissioner’s constitutional responsibility to represent his constituents,” Paxton stated. “Please revoke your mask mandate by August 9, 2021, or I will consider all available options to stop your unlawful mandate.”
Koch is currently suing Jenkins to end his mandate. “The suit also seeks to remove Jenkins from office, since he is issuing illegal orders and misusing the power of his position to prevent fellow commissioners from participating when he knows that his rules are illegal,” stated attorney Warren Norred, who’s representing Koch. “Clay Jenkins has played the part of fear-mongering bombastic tyrant long enough.”
Jenkins did not respond to a request for comment before publication.
Currently, local officials across Texas are defying Abbott’s ban and instituting their own mask mandates. Austin Mayor Steve Adler is also seeking to mandate COVID–19 vaccinations, which would be in defiance of state law and Abbott’s executive order.