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.