Democrats from the Texas House of Representatives fled the state to sabotage a special session convened to pass an election reform bill. Now they’ll have to face the consequences.
The Texas Supreme Court voided a lower court’s protective order that would have shielded some 52 Democratic lawmakers from arrest upon their return, the Daily Caller reported. Arrest warrants were signed by Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan after the ruling Tuesday.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had called for a special session after the legislature was hamstrung in May by several Democratic lawmakers leaving before a vote on the election integrity legislation. The new session was convened to pass measures such as restrictions of drive-through voting and more secure absentee and mail-in voting procedures.
However, the special session was thwarted by a larger cohort of fleeing Democrats who prevented a quorum needed to pass any legislation. This time, more than fifty left the state with many showing up in Washington, D.C. and vowing to stay there until the special session ended.
While they were waiting out the clock, Texas law enforcement was deputized to take returning lawmakers into custody, the Texas Tribune reported. Though they would not be jailed, returning lawmakers would be compelled to the statehouse to do their job in the legislature.
This power was part of the state constitution’s quorum rules. While it grants lawmakers the power to break quorum, it also has a mechanism for “quorum forcing” on behalf of the members who remain, though the lower courts challenged this power with a temporary restraining order.
“The legal question before this Court concerns only whether the Texas Constitution gives the House of Representatives the authority to physically compel the attendance of absent members,” Justice Jimmy Blacklock wrote as the Supreme Court’s opinion. “We conclude that it does, and we therefore direct the district court to withdraw the TRO.”
This political stunt has wasted time and money. Ultimately, it all came down to voting for a bill that would make elections more secure. Democrats never want more secure elections, and perhaps that says something about their chances of winning when ballots are properly cast and counted.