Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan officially signed civil arrest warrants for 52 House Democrats who refused to show up for another special legislative session – once again attempting to subvert Democracy.
“Phelan spokesman Enrique Marquez said warrants were signed for 52 Democrats who failed to return during the fifth day of the House’s second special session, leaving the chamber eight members short of a quorum,” The Washington Post reported.
The move by Phelan comes after the Texas Supreme Court overturned a ruling Tuesday “by a Travis County district judge that blocked them from ordering the arrest of quorum-busting Democrats, who were in Washington, D.C., for about a month,” KXAN reported.
“Democrats who are arrested would not face criminal charges and could not be jailed or fined. Law enforcement officers carrying out arrest orders by state officials could only try to bring them to the House chambers.”
“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,” said Renae Eze, an Abbott spokeswoman. “We look forward to the Supreme Court upholding the rule of law and stopping another stall tactic by the Texas Democrats.”
The warrants are expected to be delivered to the House Sergeant-at-arms Wednesday morning.
“The 52 warrants represent all but 15 Democrats in the lower chamber,” the Texas Tribune reported. “There were at least 11 present Tuesday. There were no additional new Democrats on the floor Tuesday after four returned a day earlier — and drew the wrath of some Democratic colleagues still in Washington, and prompted a renewed push inside the party to hold the line.”
The Texas Democrats fled the state last month to go to Washington, D.C., in an effort stop legitimate democratic processes from being carried out by the state’s legislature because they lacked the power to stop the bills from passing.
The Texas Democrats were then blasted by people on both sides of the aisle as many on them tested positive for Covid after taking lavish private flights together and photographing themselves maskless.
The Texas Democrats suffered another loss on Monday after the state’s Supreme Court denied a petition from Democratic lawmakers to restore funding to the state legislature.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott vetoed funding for the state legislature in June to withhold paychecks from Democratic lawmakers after they stalled the Republican-backed legislation.
Soon after Abbott cut funding to the legislature, Democrats petitioned the Texas Supreme Court to intervene and overturn the governor’s veto of state funding. The court denied the request, saying that the fight Democrats asked the court to resolve is not between two coequal branches of government, but within one branch, namely the legislature, and outside of the court’s purview.
“While in the District of Columbia, Democratic House members have met with members of the Biden administration and Congress to urge passage of federal legislation on voting and have held public meetings to draw attention to their cause,” the court wrote.
“They have publicly stated that the importance of defeating the Republican-supported elections bill justified their departure from Texas and breaking quorum even though it also prevented the Texas House from restoring Article X funding. They have not returned to the House to allow it to continue business. The Republican House members, for their part, have insisted that the House pass the elections bill and perhaps other legislative priorities before addressing Article X funding. The special session expired on August 6.”
“These public statements and events make it clear that the subject of the petition for writ of mandamus — the lack of Article X funding for the Legislature — continues to exist not because of a dispute between the Governor and the Legislature, nor even because of one between the Governor and a minority of House members. Rather, the principal dispute is among the members of the Legislature,” the court continued.
The court noted that the majority of members in the Republican-controlled legislature back Abbott’s agenda.
“Although the Governor certainly seeks to advance legislation he favors, the majority of the members of the Legislature support the same legislation. Relator House members oppose that legislation and have broken quorum to further their opposition,” the court said.
“It appears from the record of the special session that they could have restored Article X funding for the Legislature had they been present to vote to do so. They have chosen to continue to absent themselves in order to prevent passage of voting legislation. The legislative majority could have chosen to restore Article X funding before taking up the legislation the Governor favors. They have chosen not to do so.”
Author: Dennis Lawrence