HealthcareIssuesLocal NewsDallas County Judge Sued by GOP Commissioner He Ejected From Courtroom Over Mask Mandate

County Judge Clay Jenkins had removed Commissioner J.J. Koch from a commissioners court meeting for his decision to go without a mask.
August 3, 2021
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Tension between Dallas County Commissioner J.J. Koch (R-District 2) and Democratic County Judge Clay Jenkins boiled over into litigation on Tuesday when Koch announced a lawsuit against the judge for mandating masks in the commissioners’ courtroom.

Koch initiated the legal proceedings the same day Jenkins directed the court’s bailiff to boot him from the courtroom for declining to wear a mask. The lawsuit contends masks are only minimally effective and that Jenkins was out of line in his willingness to use “actual violence” via the bailiff to eject Koch from the proceedings.

Jenkins had encouraged Koch to participate in the meeting virtually if he did not wish to make use of a face covering.

The lawsuit calls for Jenkins to be removed from office and requests any monetary damages to which Koch might be entitled arising from the alleged violations of Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order preventing governmental officials under most circumstances from requiring masks.

Warren Norred, the attorney representing Koch in the suit, put out a scathing statement that said “Clay Jenkins has played the part of fear-mongering bombastic tyrant long enough.”

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“Norred Law is honored to represent Dallas County Commissioner JJ Koch in the suit against Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. This suit seeks to declare [void] the face-covering edict issued unilaterally by Jenkins this morning,” Norred said. 

“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.”

Koch, the only GOP member of the Dallas County Commissioners Court, has been a foe of Jenkins and the two butt heads when Jenkins got state officials involved over a plan Koch advanced to prioritize the distribution of vaccines.

Jenkins has long been a proponent of instituting strict government mandates in an effort to reduce coronavirus infections. He has sparred publicly with Abbott over executive orders the governor has issued limiting the ability of local officials to make their own rules during the pandemic.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found below.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan. He has coached high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.