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Almost two dozen Democrats members of the Texas House of Representatives who fled Texas last month have sued Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican officials in the state, alleging that efforts to bring them back to the state to do their jobs infringed on their constitutional rights.
According to the Texas Tribune, the 22 plaintiffs say in their legal complaint that they were “deprived of liberty for substantial periods of time, suffered much anxiety and distress over separation from their families, and much discomfort and embarrassment.” The lawsuit names Abbott, House Speaker Dade Phelan, and State Rep. James White as defendants in the case.
Of these Democrats, two of them even fled to Europe, where they continue to vacation as the end of the special legislative session nears, according to Dallas Morning News.
Fox News reports that lawsuit comes after Abbott called for the arrests of more than 50 Texas House Democrats who fled Texas in July for Washington D.C. in an attempt to stop the Republican-backed voter integrity bill from passing in a special legislative session. The lawsuit claims that the three top Republicans have “by public statements and otherwise, to attempt to deny, coerce, threaten, intimidate, and prevent” the Democrats and their constituents from voting in elections, speaking publicly about their rights, and their right to not being arrested without probable case.
The lawsuit also claims that some of the Democrats were targeted due to their race, but it did not provide any evidence for the claim.
The Texas Tribunal reports that the lawyer representing the Democrats, Craig Anthony Washington, is reportedly practicing law under a probationally suspended license. The Texas Tribunal reports:
It’s unclear why White was listed as a defendant. White said Friday night he was not aware he’d been sued or why he was named as a defendant. The lawsuit also did not use Phelan’s legal name, which is Matthew McDade Phelan.
Abbott and Phelan did not immediately have a statement on the lawsuit.
The Democrats’ attorney, Craig Anthony Washington, is a former Democratic lawmaker, who is practicing law under a probationally suspended license, according to the State Bar of Texas.
“Once they step back into the state they will be arrested and brought back to the Capitol and we will be conducting business,” Abbott said of the walk-out, which was the second time Texas Dems staged a walkout on a voting bill and left the state’s house without a quorum to pass it.
“We have special sessions that last 30 days,” Abbott said. “And the governor calls them, and I will continue calling special session after special session because over time it is going to continue until they step up to vote.”
As previously noted, two members of the Democrats who fled went to Portugal while the others remain in Washington D.C. The two Democrats are reportedly Reps. Jessica Gonzalez and Julie Johnson of Farmers Branch. They have both been reluctant to confirm their locations. When pressed, Gonzalez said that “no one has shown proof” they left the United States, referring to the reports as “These are rumors. End of story” via text message.
“Please pray for these heroic Texas Democrats as they suffer away from home, in Portugal,” U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw tweeted. “Perhaps consider sending them a care package?”
Dallas Morning News reported:
Republicans may not be the only ones frustrated with González and Johnson, though. Scott Braddock, editor of the Texas politics newsletter Quorum Report, said he was fielding some complaints from Democrats.
“Hearing now from some very unhappy Democrats who think @juliejohnsonTX & @jessicafortexas should be stripped of any leadership positions in the Texas House Democratic Caucus, on either the legislative or campaign side,” he tweeted Wednesday.
The Texas Democrats in the capital city still haven’t said how long they plan to stay in Washington after the end of the current special session, just that they’re waiting and pushing for federal voting protections to pass.
Article Source : Conservativebrief.com