In response to the latest phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Austin and Travis County enacted restrictions on restaurants and bars that are more restrictive than those established by the Governor’s latest order on that subject. The Third Court denied an interim stay and the State sought mandamus relief on January 1, 2021, arguing:
“The State has a sovereign right to the correct interpretation and enforcement of its laws, and a particular interest in the mitigation of disasters. Order 24 impinges on both. The Texas Disaster Act assigns the Governor both the responsibility for managing statewide disasters and extraordinary powers to meet those disasters. By issuing an order that contradicted the Governor’s, Mayor Adler and Judge Brown violated the State’s sovereign right to see the Act followed by its terms and its interest in seeing the consistent application of statewide COVID-19 recovery efforts. The court of appeals was required to issue Rule 29.3 relief to protect those interests pending appeal.”
In a brief order, the Texas Supreme Court granted a stay the next day – thereby making the first case filed in 2021 the first case resolved in 2021! In re: State of Texas, No. 21-0001 (Jan. 2, 2021).