Civil Arrest Warrants Have Been Issued For Absent Texas Democrats
AUSTIN – The Texas State Legislature is still short a quorum moving into the second special session, which Texas Governor Greg Abbott called last week.
So what’s next? Arrest warrants have been issued in an attempt to hasten the return of the absent Democrats.
Let’s clear up a misunderstanding about these arrest warrants though, and squelch the rumors.
These arrest warrants are civil arrest warrants.
State Representative Carl O. Sherman (D-109) received one since he is still in Washington D.C. Actually, he and over fifty other State Representatives who believe democracy is at stake, received the warrants.
The Penalty? Locked In Chambers, Not Jail
The warrant reads “To the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives of the State of Texas, or any other officer appointed by him: You are hereby commanded to take the Honorable Carl Sherman Sr. a member of the House of Representatives of the State of Texas, who is not absent from the House, wherever said Member may be found in the State into your custody and safekeeping and bring said Member before the bar of the House Instanter…”
In other words these State Representatives will be taken to the State Capitol and locked in the chambers, not locked up in jail. Not attending legislative sessions violates House rules, but it is a civil offense, not a criminal one.
“It bothers me that my grandchildren will see that their grandfather who has never been arrested has an arrest warrant,” said Sherman. “But our democracy is at stake because of an intentional erosion of our voting rights.”
‘Democracy Is At Stake’
This isn’t the first time the use of a break in quorum has been enacted though. In 1850, Abraham Lincoln led a quorum break against the Democrats in Illinois.
Sherman said “We are just following the rules and we will do everything we can to protect the rights.”
At stake, Sherman and his colleagues attest, is the very democracy that this country was built on.
Even so, Sherman said he does take this warrant seriously.
“As far as I am concerned, with our democracy at stake it is less important for me to be concerned about myself,” he said. “If there was widespread fraud in Texas elections one would think they would have found it by now and fixed it like we need to fix the grid. At this point I have to focus on our democracy and making sure that we don’t lose the right to vote.”
Criticism & Competition
While the democrats are in Washington attempting to assure Texans don’t lose their current voting rights, candidates in District 109 are ready to run against Sherman. Those include Republicans like Glenn Height’s Casey Littlejohn, who has previously run on the Republican ticket in District 109.
And not only are the Democrats in Washington being scrutinized for doing what is the equivalent of a filibuster in DC, they are also being called names liked ‘wayward’ in one national news report and ‘fugitive’ in another.
With the definition of wayward being “difficult to control or predict because of unusual or perverse behavior’ and the word fugitive defined as “a person who has escaped from a place or is in hiding, especially to avoid arrest or persecution,” let’s also remember these democrats just had civil arrest warrants issued this week, not 31 days ago when they left Texas.
Another rumor shared by a news source was the democrats “fled” without masks. However, this was not against the law since Abbott issued an Executive Order on May 18, 2021 “prohibiting governmental entities in Texas — including counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities, or government officials — from requiring or mandating mask wearing. Public schools may continue to follow current mask-wearing guidelines through June 4. After June 4, no student, teacher, parent, or other staff member or visitor can be required to wear a mask while on campus.
Beginning May 21, local governments or officials that attempt to impose a mask mandate or impose a limitation inconsistent or conflicting with the Executive Order can be subject to a fine of up to $1,000.”
Sherman said Thursday afternoon “I am going to be focused on continuing to get Washington to hear us.”
Support Is Growing
Since their arrival in Washington and before the arrest warrants were issued, the Texas Democrats in DC have garnered the support of leaders across this nation. Other legislatures from Mississippi to Georgia, Arizona, Virginia and Maryland are backing Texas. Even individuals like Lucy Baines Johnson – daughter of former president Lyndon B Johnson, a Texas democrat who presided over the defeat of Jim Crow in the voting booth – has come out to support this move to assure the suppression of Texas voting rights is not achieved.
“It really serves as an inspiration every day that we have been fighting and working here for my constituents back home,” Sherman concluded. “Voting rights is not up for negotiation.”