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El Paso

Texas Supreme Court declines to grant emergency order against Samaniego’s shutdown mandate

County of El Paso
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Smaniego during a news conference on Covid-19.

EL PASO, Texas -- The Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant an emergency order aimed at halting El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego's mandated shutdown involving non-essential businesses to stem the surge of Covid-19.

The state's top court said the Texas attorney general and local restaurant owners need to wait for a pending decision by an appeals court that is expected on Thursday.

The high court, in its ruling, left the door open to potentially hearing the case at some point in the future after the appeals court makes its determination on the merits of the case.

Attorney General Ken Paxton and a group of restaurant owners contend Samaniego's order is invalid because it conflicts with statewide measures put in place by the governor.

The El Paso County Attorney's Office successfully argued in a lower court that state law allows county judges to restrict the movement of people and occupancy of premises during a disaster.

District Court Judge Bill Moody cited historic precedent in which local officials issued orders based on the needs of their own communities during the last pandemic in Texas, namely the Spanish Flu of 1918.

Samaniego's shutdown order is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, but he has signaled there's a likelihood that it may be extended.

Below you can see a copy of the state Supreme Court's one-page decision.

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Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.



  1. For those who advocate for business the open and place monetary importance above human life, maybe you should join the healthcare workers to treat covid instead of sitting pretty at home mouthing off. A large number of healthcare providers have been infected and some even have died. Samaniego you did the right thing. Bars are not a priority. The city should place a hold on their leases, hold on owners paying taxes, etc.

    1. “The city should place a hold on their leases, hold on owners paying taxes, etc.” Right! That will never happen. The City won’t care and will demand their money or force foreclosure for back taxes. Nice thought, but politicians are greedy, always ready to spend other people’s money.

      1. Also the EPISD loves to spend our money. Just like the other day when they voted to give the outgoing superintendent, Cabrera $500,000 to buy him out of his already inflated contract even though he was the one who resigned.

  2. What is there to decide? Open Restaurants and bars and the Covid19 Hotspot will turn into a Hellspot. Abbot and the Trump retarded bunch can bitch all they want about revenue loss, but revenue loss is nothing compared to Life losses. Pretty sure the reality of a pandemic will be acknowledged and Trump politics of *the hell with the pandemic just let it run it’s course * is unrealistic and will not work. This situation is not forever, just wait a few weeks until the Covid19 surge is manageable then you can open your business. Don’t let politics Trump reality(no pun intended).

  3. 80 percent of Americans believe Biden won the election fair and square. 3 percent of Trump retards believe Trump won. 3 percent of Americans need Mental health help so they can see Reality as it is.

  4. But do shutdowns work? The evidence does nothing to support a shutdown. During the two-month shutdown the rate of daily cases went up and the daily death rate went up. Both cases/day and deaths/day did not peak until well after the shutdown. So, I ask you judge, where’s your evidence? Where’s the science to support this?

    Instead, why don’t you focus on something that will work, like getting the county the healthcare professionals and equipment that it needs! High risk individuals or those living with high risk individuals should be encouraged but not forced to stay home.

    The only kind of shutdown that would work is a full global shutdown in which every person on the planet was forced to stay home for a month. That would mean the hospitals would be closed. There would be no law enforcement, No Walmart. Do you get it?! It’s not possible so stop trying because you’re not killing any virus. Instead you’re killing jobs and businesses. Congratulations!

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