Gov. Greg Abbott recently joined Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan to file a petition with the Texas Supreme Court that would overturn a lower court’s order blocking the arrest of Democrats who fled the state to block a special session on election integrity.
As of Tuesday, Abbott and Phelan’s request has been approved. The Texas Supreme Court has since issued a stay on the lower court’s order, allowing for the Governor to arrest the fleeing Democrats.
Austin, Texas ABC News affiliate KVUE reported Tuesday, “Abbott and Phelan argued in the petition for a writ of mandamus, dated Aug. 9, that the ‘trial court’s error ‘constitute[s] a clear abuse of discretion.”
“In this case, there can be little doubt that the Plaintiff’s arrest and subsequent transport back to the Capitol falls comfortably within the Legislature’s (and the Speaker’s) broad power to compel the attendance of its members,” the petition says.
Texas Democratic State Reps. Trey Martinez Fischer, Gina Hinojosa, and Jasmine Crocket issued a statement responding to the Court’s decision, “It is no surprise that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan want to arrest their political opponents.”
“Thankfully, this is still the United States of America,” the Democrat representatives said. “We will defend the freedom to vote, and we look forward to our temporary injunction hearing on Aug. 20.”
More than 50 Democratic members of the Texas House fled the state in private planes to travel to Washington, D.C., to block Texas lawmakers from voting on a proposal Democrats claimed would ‘restrict voting access.’
The Texas Dems planned to ask the federal government to pass federal voting rights legislation.
On August 9, KVUE reported that an order was signed by a criminal district judge in Austin that blocked arrest.
KVUE reported, “Judge Brad Urrutia signed the order Sunday night, and it was filed by Austin attorneys representing 19 plaintiffs Monday morning.”
“The order potentially paved the way for remaining House members to return to the state – or to refuse to go to the Capitol – without the threat of arrest,” the report noted.
KVUE continued, “The order blocked Abbott, Phelan and law enforcement agencies such as the Texas Department of Public Safety and Capitol police from ‘detaining, confining, or otherwise restricting a Texas House Democrat’s movement without his or her consent.”
The order also halted them from “issuing warrants or other instruments demanding the detention, confinement or other restriction of a Texas House Democrat’s movement.”
The fleeing Democrats also sued Governor Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan.
22 among the group claimed in a lawsuit that they have “suffered much anxiety and distress over separation from their families, and much discomfort and embarrassment.”
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