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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. Photo: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked South Carolina's ban on mask mandates in schools, ruling that it discriminated against students with disabilities and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Why it matters: As mask bans extend to public schools around the country, parents and disability rights activists have sounded alarm bells. The ruling may signal the outcomes of legal fights playing out across the country.

Details: A group of parents of students with disabilities, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the governor last month over the ban.

  • U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis granted a request to block the ban, ruling that the state's budget provision prohibited it.
  • "No one can reasonably argue that it is an undue burden to wear a mask to accommodate a child with disabilities," Lewis wrote in her decision.
  • "The same legal authority requiring schools to have [wheelchair accessible] ramps requires that school districts have the option to compel people to wear masks at school," the judge continued.

What they're saying: "I am thankful that the Court was able to cut through the political rhetoric and ensure that South Carolina parents no longer have to choose between their child's health and education," ACLU of South Carolina director of legal advocacy Allen Chaney said in a statement.

  • The office of Gov. Henry McMaster released a statement saying: "[T]he governor strongly disagrees with the court’s decision and will defend a parent's right to decide what's best for their children up to the United States Supreme Court, if necessary."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Poll shows eroding school satisfaction

Note: Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number; Data: Nashville Public Education Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Nashville Public Education Foundation released on Thursday a new poll showing deepening dissatisfaction with public schools during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Nearly half of the 500 voters polled in September said they thought Metro Nashville Public Schools had gotten worse over the last five years.

Appeals court denies DOJ's request to suspend Texas abortion ban

People protesting Texas' abortion ban outside of the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Oct. 2. Photo: Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

A three-judge panel for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied the Department of Justice's emergency request to suspend Texas' abortion ban, which bars the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, or roughly six weeks — before many people know they are pregnant.

Why it matters: The ruling allows the ban to continue to be enforced as the courts consider the law's constitutionality. It's one of the most restrictive bans to be enforced since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, which has been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin.