Democrats seated in the Texas state legislature thought they were so clever skipping town rather than bucking up and sticking around in Austin to face a vote on voting restrictions. They were so clever, they made themselves fugitives when the Texas attorney general issued warrants for their arrests.
Courts in two counties in Texas essentially said that the escapees did not have to return.
On Tuesday, the Texas Supreme Court said that if they don’t, they can be arrested.
While the court has already blocked lower court orders in Travis and Harris counties protecting the Democrats, this ruling stipulates that under the state Constitution House leaders can compel members to attend the chamber to conduct legislative business. Consequently, those who do not attend can be arrested.
“The question now before this Court is not whether it is a good idea for the Texas House of Representatives to arrest absent members to compel a quorum,” the court said in an opinion.
“Nor is the question whether the proposed voting legislation giving rise to this dispute is desirable. Those are political questions far outside the scope of the judicial function.”
The court noted that the legal question it was presented with “concerns only whether the Texas Constitution gives the House of Representatives the authority to physically compel” absent members to attend the chamber.
“We conclude that it does, and we therefore direct the district court to withdraw the [temporary restraining order],” the state Supreme Court added.
State legislatures are not social clubs and elections should not be popularity contests. These are the mechanisms by which a republic governs. Those Democrats who thought they were so smart in avoiding an unpleasant subject (to them) are shirking their duties to the people who voted for them. That does not seem to matter to Democrats, that they are not doing their jobs, but that’s the reality.
And they now are fugitives from justice.
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