Texas Judge Rules Against GOP Plot To Arrest Democrats


We have been witnessing what may be a beautiful new chapter in American history. Certainly, we are seeing something that is rarely seen in government. Representatives Liz Cheney (R-WY) and  Adam Kingziner (R-IL) stepped up to serve in the Special Committee on January 6 even though they may have lost their careers by doing so. We saw the Capitol and D.C. Metropolitan Police officers battle a raging mob for hours to save our very democracy from a dictatorial coup. Maybe, this is a sign of renewed patriotism, courage, and doing what is right. Now, this.

There were 57 Texas Democrats who fled their Republican-led Congress to avoid a vote on a bill undermining voter accessibility that they would have surely passed. They left the Republicans without a quorum.

Before then, Texas still had one of the most repressive voter accessibility in the nation. They took planes to Washington D.C. to educate the U.S. Congress members and convince them how important national voting accessibility legislation was in their and other states.

Right after Donald Trump lost, the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation was handing out prewritten legislation meant to give state Republicans all the wins they wanted in upcoming elections. Thus far, 400 bills have been filed to impede Democratic citizens from voting.

Nineteen of the Texas House Democrats filed a lawsuit against Texas Governor Abbott (R) and House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) asking the judge to protect them from threatened arrests when they returned to Texas, The Washington Post reported:

Fortunately, State District Judge Brad Urrutia (D) signed a temporary restraining order late this weekend. He found that according to the Texas Constitution and the rules of the Texas House:

‘[Texas’] power to arrest and incarcerate cannot be used for political purposes.’

Judge Brad Urrutia found for the Democrats, writing that it would cause them “imminent and irreparable harm should Republicans arrest them upon return.” Urrutia wrote in the order, according to The Texas Tribune:

‘[It] clearly appears [Abbott and Phelan have] erroneously interpreted Texas law and legislative rules to permit the detention, confinement, or other restriction [of state legislators] … in response to a call for quorum.’

A spokesperson for Abbott, Renae Eze, released a statement indicating that he did not believe the order would hold:

‘The ruling by the Travis County judge is contrary to the Texas Constitution and violates the separation of powers between the different branches of government. We are confident that this overstep will be overturned. Texas Democrats need to stop the charades and get back to work.’

Members of the Texas Democrat’s delegation released their statement:

‘Because of our advocacy, and that of the hundreds of legislators and allies around the country who rallied to our cause, we are that much closer today to the enactment of the most sweeping voting rights legislation since the signing of the Voting Rights Act 56 years ago. Texas House Democrats will continue to resist, and hold the line, by any legal means necessary.’

Eddie Lucio III had already returned to Texas. There he told the reporters he wanted to work on important issues such as the state’s inadequate electric grid, honoring retired teachers’ retirement package, and funding Texas’ Congress:

‘The chapter of the first special session closed. It doesn’t mean that the fight closed. … My decision hinged on some of the demands back home, professionally, personally, and politically have sweeping reform nationwide.’

Chair of the Texas House Republican Caucus Representative Jim Murphy (R) wanted the legislators to get back to handle unfinished business:

‘There may be some sharp elbows. There may be some personality issues, but we have to focus on the work at hand.’

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