Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) officially signed civil arrest warrants for 52 House Democrats who refused to show up for another special legislative session, thereby keeping the session from proceeding.
As The Washington Post reported:
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 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 to 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 then endured weeks of embarrassment after multiple members who traveled to Washington, D.C., tested positive after the overwhelming majority of the members had been photographed not wearing masks on private flights to the nation’s capital.