Runaway House Democrats who refuse to show up for the Legislature could soon be detained and arrested by law enforcement and brought back to the state Capitol, after the Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday voided a state district judge’s temporary restraining order barring their arrest.
The high court’s order came at the request of Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan, also both Republicans, who petitioned the court on Monday to overturn a recent ruling 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. The House Democrats in the suit have until Thursday at 4 p.m. to respond to the court. 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.”