Texas Democrats are returning to their home state after a district judge protected them from the possibility of arrests threatened by Gov. Greg Abbott and House leadership, according to Fox News.
The Texas State Supreme Court ruled that the Democrats who left the state last month and fled to Washington D.C. to deprive the state legislature of a quorum could be civilly detained. Texas legislature requires a quorum of two-thirds of the chamber’s 150 members, which they were four short of as of Monday.
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan reportedly amended his plan of action and signed civil arrest warrants on Tuesday for dozens of House Democrats.
The warrants “will be delivered to the House Sergeant-at-Arms tomorrow morning for service” a spokesperson for Phelan said Tuesday, according to the Texas Tribune.
A total of 52 Democrats walked out of the Capitol and onto an airplane to take them to Washington in the face of being unable to rally enough votes to stop a voter integrity act their party didn’t care for.
Following their action both Phelan and Abbott shared their indignation and vowed to arrest the AWOL Democrats as soon as they came back to their home state.
The Texas House voted 80-12 to issue the warrants just hours after the state’s Supreme Court ruled that they could be detained, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News. The state’s high court overturned a lower court’s decision to block the warrants altogether.
Democrats made a bold move to circumvent the rules, with State Rep. Chris Turner, chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, saying in a recent statement that it was “fully within our rights as legislators to break quorum to protect our constituents.”
“Texas House Democrats are committed to fighting with everything we have against Republicans’ attacks on our freedom to vote,” Turner said according to the statement cited by Fox News.