Members of the Texas state legislature pulled a political stunt to sabotage an election security bill. That carries serious consequences
The Democratic lawmakers who fled the Lone Star State for Washington, D.C. in order to thwart a GOP election security bill may face arrest despite a lower court judge’s protection against it, according to the Texas Tribune. The Texas Supreme Court voided the lower court’s restraining order meaning they could still face arrest upon return to the state.
In July, over 50 Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives fled the state during a special session to vote on proposed legislation that would tighten elections integrity, NBC News reported at the time. Without the necessary number for a quorum, the special session was hamstrung.
Under Texas law, members of the legislature can be compelled to show up or face arrest. When the group fled, House members ordered the chamber’s sergeant at arms to arrest them upon return under a “call of the House.”
A lower court granted an injunction to this edict, only to have it voided by the Supreme Court Tuesday. “The Supreme Court of Texas swiftly rejected this dangerous attempt by Texas Democrats to undermine our Constitution and avoid doing the job they were elected to do,” Renae Eze, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, said. “We look forward to the Supreme Court upholding the rule of law and stopping another stall tactic by the Texas Democrats.”
Ironically, Democrats accused Abbott of playing politics despite the optics employed by their own party. “It is no surprise that Republican Governor Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan want to arrest their political opponents,” a handful of Democratic representatives said in a joint statement.
“Thankfully, this is still the United States of America,” the statement continued. “We will defend the freedom to vote, and we look forward to our temporary injunction hearing on August 20th.”
A second special session began Saturday, but many of the Democratic lawmakers have still failed to return. So far, they have yet to reach the numbers necessary for a quorum.
Their continued obstruction is no surprise. However, this political stunt has already been a source of humiliation after an outbreak of COVID-19 among several of the Democratic lawmakers who flew to Washington — and their fugitives’ welcome will be equally as embarrassing.