Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan has signed 52 arrest warrants for Democrats that fled the state and went to Washington D.C. in July to block Republicans from passing election reform efforts.
Phelan signed the warrants on Tuesday night after a majority of 80-12 voted for the measure to be taken.
Earlier in the day, the state’s Supreme Court voided a state district judge’s temporary restraining order that blocked their arrest.
“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,” Renae Eze, a spokeswoman for Governor Greg Abbott told the Texas Tribune. “We look forward to the Supreme Court upholding the rule of law and stopping another stall tactic by the Texas Democrats.”
Rep. Chris Turner, who chairs the Texas House Democratic Caucus, issued a statement arguing that it is “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.”
The warrants were set to be delivered to the House sergeant-at-arms on Wednesday morning, Phelan spokesman Enrique Marquez told the Dallas Morning News.
The report also stated that “fugitive Democrats remain defiant, and an untold number are outside the reach of the House sergeant-at-arms and state troopers.”
“I just question whether DPS or anyone can break down my door to come and put me in shackles and drag me there,” Rep. Vikki Goodwin, D-Austin, told The Dallas Morning News. “I feel certain that I can stay in my home, and stay off the House floor.”
At least two dozen of the lawmakers remain in DC.
However, the newspaper also pointed out that “it wouldn’t take many arrests for the House to be back in business. A quorum requires two-thirds of the 150 members on site. Since Monday, 96 House members have checked in as present — just four shy.”