Texas

Texas House Speaker Signs 52 Arrest Warrants for Criminal Democrats

Dade Phelan, Republican Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, has signed official arrest warrants for the 52 Texas Democrats who absconded last month to prevent a quorum. The House voted to move forward with the arrest warrants hours after a decision by the Texas Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling which would have prohibited the arrest of the absent Democrats once they returned to the state.

Texas Democrats face arrest

The Texas Democrats fled the state last month to prevent the House from passing GOP legislation which is intended to prevent future voter fraud.

The bill would likely have passed had the Democrats not flown as a group to Washington D.C. and evaded the authority of the Texan government.

While the state Democrats had intended the move to be a dramatic political statement the action has received primarily mockery from Republicans and only limited interest from other Democrats.

By preventing the passage of legislation which they would otherwise not have been able to stop, the state legislators are legally able to be arrested if they return to the state.

The Texas Constitution allows the House to compel attendance if members are stalling valid legislative business by preventing a quorum.

Some of the Democrats have vowed to remain in Washington D.C. through the end of August, though other have begun to split off and a few have already returned to the House.

Republicans get closer to quorum

The arrest warrants signed by Dade Phelan would only allow the state to bring legislators back to the House chamber. They would not face any criminal charges.

The House voted overwhelmingly to approve the warrants after the Texas Supreme Court decision was announced, though that vote was held with the vast majority of Democrats still absent.

Like earlier calls for arrests the warrants can do nothing to the Democrats so long as they remain outside of the jurisdiction of the Texas government.

It is impractical for them to remain indefinitely outside of their home state, though. Despite calls by some to hold the line and remain in D.C. the legislators already appear to be breaking up.

Each defection which results in a member returning to the House increases the likelihood that a quorum will eventually be reached and the legislation passed.

This outcome might be even more humiliating than being arrested for the exiled Democrats, who began their stand with some extravagant rhetoric which is now being undermined by their own inability to keep up their cohesion.

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