Shelley Luther, who faced jail time for keeping her business open despite local lockdown orders, scored a victory with a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court voiding the order that held the Dallas salon owner in contempt of court.
The state’s high court ruled on Friday that state District Judge Eric Moye’s temporary restraining order against Luther requiring her to shut down her business over COVID-19 concerns was too vague to enforce.
“The temporary restraining order failed to set forth the conduct required and the legal basis for its issuance in clear, specific, and unambiguous terms,” the court decision said.
Luther, who garnered national attention last year for her defiance, celebrated the decision as a legal victory for business owners.
“To say that we are pleased with the court’s ruling is an understatement,” Luther told WBAP. “What happened to me can happen again. Lawmakers need to protect business owners from busybody bureaucrats, not whitewash pandemic power grabs, empowering similar behavior in the future.”
Luther was sentenced to a week in jail and fined $7,000 last May after tearing up a cease-and-desist order from Dallas County accusing her of violating public health guidelines for keeping her business, Salon A la Mode, operating in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.
She appealed to the state Supreme Court, which ordered her release from jail two days into her incarceration while it reviewed the case. At the time, top Republicans in Texas, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, called for her immediate release.
Luther, along with other business owners who’ve been recognized for their revolt against government orders to shut down during the pandemic, have been largely celebrated among conservative circles, which have often deemed overreaching COVID-19 regulations as unconstitutional.
Luther has served as a guest speaker at many GOP events and ran an unsuccessful bid for the Texas Senate last fall.
She will face trial proceedings, presided over by Moye, in December regarding the lawsuit filed against her by the city of Dallas last April.