Updated Aug 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Texas GOP state House speaker signs warrants to arrest 52 Democrats

Group of Texas Democrats give a press conference

Texas state Rep. Chris Turner, chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, joined by fellow Democratic Texas state representatives at a press conference on July 30. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Texas House Speaker signed late Tuesday civil arrest warrants for 52 Democratic lawmakers who fled the state last month to block a GOP effort to pass voting restrictions, per the Dallas Morning News.

Driving the news: The GOP-led Texas House of Representatives voted 80-12 in favor of the move, hours after the state Supreme Court temporarily blocked a restraining order by a lower court protecting the Democrats.

  • It means that those among the group who have returned to Texas can be detained and forcibly returned to the state Capitol to reestablish quorum, the Texas Tribune notes.
  • The court have the Democrats until 4pm Thursday to respond to the ruling.

What they're saying: Renae Eze, a spokesperson for Abbott, in a statement, "The Supreme Court of Texas swiftly rejected this dangerous attempt by Texas Democrats to undermine our Constitution and avoid doing the job they were elected to do."

The other side: State Democratic Reps. Trey Martinez Fischer, Gina Hinojosa and Jasmine Crockett in a joint statement that it is "no surprise" that the Republican governor Greg Abbott and House Speaker "want to arrest their political opponents," per CNN.

  • "We will defend the freedom to vote, and we look forward to our temporary injunction hearing on August 20th," the statement added.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of the vote, the signing of the arrest warrant and further comment from the Texas Democrats.

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