Texas Democrats who fled the state to avoid voting on a GOP-backed voter integrity bill have filed a lawsuit against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, and State Rep. James White. 

The lawsuit, filed by over 20 Democrat State House Reps., say efforts by Abbott to bring them back to Texas for a special legislative session, “infringe on their constitutional rights.” 

In the lawsuit, the 22 Democrat State Reps claim that they have been “deprived of liberty for substantial periods of time, suffered much anxiety and distress over separation from their families, and much discomfort and embarrassment.”

And seeing an opportunity to pull the race card, the suit also claims that several of the Democrats were targeted because of race, however there is no supporting evidence that is the case.

The Texas Tribune reports that the attorney for the Democrats is allegedly practicing law under a probationally suspended license. 

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Texas Democrat Caucus Fled To D.C. Prior To Vote 

Last month, Texas House Democrats fled to Washington D.C. in hopes of denying a quorum on a Republican-led voter integrity bill.

Gov. Abbott stated that upon returning to Texas, the lawmakers would be arrested and brought to the Capitol for a vote. 

Abbott stated, “Once they step back into the state they will be arrested and brought back to the Capitol and we will be conducting business.”

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Unity Among Members Starting To Fade

On Monday, cracks in the Democrats’ unity were starting to be visible. A good number of the members remain in Washington, but some had returned to Texas as a Travis County judge issued an order blocking the arrest of any members.

Enough Democrat House members had returned so that as many as 95 members were on the Floor by Monday afternoon. This brought the House within five members of the needed quorum. There were four Democrats included in the total number of members present.

Those who still opposed returning to Austin were vocal about the actions of their colleagues who had done so. State Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos tweeted, “you all threw us under the bus today! Why?” State Rep. Gina Hinojosa also tweeted, “Quorum is still not met. Praying no other Democrats willingly go to Floor.”

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The Latest In The Standoff

The way things stand now, Gov. Abbott says he will continue to call special sessions of the state legislature until the Democrats come back to vote.

On Monday, Abbott and House Speaker Phelan appealed to the Texas Supreme Court to overturn the district court judge’s order that blocks Abbott from arresting the lawmakers upon returning to Texas.

 The case will not be heard in district court until August 20.

Texas Solicitor General Judd E. Stone II argued in an emergency motion to the Texas Supreme Court that because of the delay, “virtually guarantees that no significant legislation will be passed during this session.”

The state has requested that the state high court block the district judge’s order no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday. But not all Democrats will be returning to Austin. The Texas Tribune reports that State Reps. Julie Johnson and Jessica Gonzalez, along with Johnson’s wife and Gonzalez’s fiance are vacationing in Portugal.


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