Dozens of Texas Democrats who fled the state in order to deny Republicans a legislative quorum are no longer safe from arrest.
Fox News reports that the Texas Supreme Court has overturned a lower court decision that protected the Democratic lawmakers from facing arrest for their decision to skip out on key votes in the state legislature.
Fleeing the state
Democrats in the Texas House first fled the state back in July to avoid voting on a controversial election reform bill. Many of these lawmakers, who took a plane to the nation’s capital, were later found to have tested positive for COVID-19.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) response to a sizable group of Democrat legislators fleeing the state was to promise they’d be arrested when they returned home. But this still hasn’t happened.
That’s because many of these Texas Democrats are still in Washington, D.C., and the matter is being challenged in the courts. It was just this week, in fact, that a lower court in Texas granted a protective order that stopped the Democrat lawmakers from being arrested.
But that order was just overturned.
It was Texas’ Supreme Court that issued a ruling on Wednesday effectively green-lighting the arrests of lawmakers who fail to show up to do their jobs. Abbott, for his part, celebrated the court’s decision. “The Dems have filed some of the most embarrassing lawsuits ever seen,” he said, according to Fox.
The matter is now expected to be appealed at the federal level.
In the meantime, Texas Dems are still being threatened with arrest for failing to return to the state legislature in order to establish a quorum, the minimum number of lawmakers needed to conduct legislative proceedings.
They wouldn’t be facing criminal charges, however; rather, upon their arrest, they’d be taken to the state legislature to vote.
Do your job
Of course, Abbott believes that’s what they should have been doing all along. “Time for them to get to the Capitol and do the job they were elected to do,” the governor told Fox.
Some 25 Texas Democrats are said to still be in Washington, and they’ve made no indication of plans to head back to the Lone Star State.