State Watch

Texas Supreme Court rules state Democrats can be arrested and brought to Capitol

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The Texas Supreme Court ruled that state Democrats who fled to Washington, D.C., to block the passage of a GOP-backed elections overhaul bill can be arrested and brought back to the state Capitol.

The ruling from the high court comes hours after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and state House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) asked the court to block an order from a Travis County Judge stopping the state from exercising its authority to arrest the lawmakers.

The Republicans wanted the court to overturn the order by 5 p.m. 

Renae Eze, a spokeswoman for Abbott, said in a statement to The Hill that the court “swiftly rejected this dangerous attempt by Texas Democrats to undermine our Constitution and avoid doing the job they were elected to do.”

“We look forward to the Supreme Court upholding the rule of law and stopping another stall tactic by the Texas Democrats,” Eze said.

More than 50 House Democrats fled to D.C. in early July to deny the GOP a quorum in an effort block the elections overhaul bill that critics say amounts to voter suppression.

The measure would ban around-the-clock voting centers, voting facilities in outdoor structures and straight-ticket voting. It would also limit the use of ballot drop boxes, which were used heavily during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The lawmakers met with several high-profile Democrats while in the nation’s capital, including Vice President Harris and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Another special session is currently underway to again try to pass the legislation.

Some Democrats slowly began returning to the Lone Star State this week, but Republicans just barely missed the 100-member quorum that is needed to end the standoff. According to CBS DFW, fewer than half the lawmakers who fled in July are still in D.C.

State Rep. James Talarico (D), who returned to Texas, told the news outlet that Democrats don’t have many options.

“Since the beginning of the quorum break, I have been very honest about our options in Texas — we don’t have many. This is by design,” Talarico said. “Under one-party rule: democracy suffers.”

Tags Charles Schumer voting laws voting restrictions

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