Some Texas Democrats File Lawsuit Against Abbott, Other Republican Officials

Some of the Texas Democratic lawmakers who fled to Washington to block the Republican-led bill that would result in changes and restrict the elections laws in the state have filed a lawsuit against Governor Greg Abbott.

Dozens of House Democrats had earlier fled Texas to avoid voting on the measure that included proposals such as a ban on drive-through voting, limits on 24-hour voting options as well as new identification requirements for absentee voters. It would also bar local officials from sending out absentee voting applications to voters not eligible to vote by mail.

The Democrats’ lawsuit alleges that the efforts of the Republican officials to bring them home for a special legislative session infringed on their constitutional rights to free speech. It further states 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 was filed on the final day of the first special session by Abbott and on the eve of the second special legislative session. Aside from Abbott, House Speaker Dade Phelan and State Representative James White were named in the lawsuit. The lawsuit comes on the heels of the calls for arrest by Abbott for the House Democrats. Abbott and Phelan did not comment on the lawsuit by the Democratic lawmakers.

Aside from the supposed infringement on the petitioners’ constitutional rights in the lawsuit, they further claimed that the Republican officials targeted some of them because of their race and skin color. They did not provide evidence for this, and it is unclear if they offered an in-depth explanation of such allegation.

The lawsuit also alleges three Republican lawmakers worked together under the color of law to cause them harm. They also did not state the specific incidents regarding this allegation.

The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are Alma Allen, Elizabeth Campos, Nicole Collier, Jasmine Crockett, Trey Martinez Fischer, Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, Vikki Goodwin, Gina Hinojosa, Donna Howard, Celia Israel, Jarvis Johnson, Ray Lopez, Terry Meza, Christina Morales, Mary Ann Perez, Ana-Maria Ramos, Ron Reynolds, Eddie Rodriguez, Jon Rosenthal, Shawn Thierry, Senfronia Thompson, and Gene Wu. However, Thierry and Collier issued statements saying that they did not ask to have the suit filed under their name.

download 21
Credit: conchovalleyhomepage.com

The Democratic lawmakers also scored a restraining order to prevent their arrest the moment they returned to Texas. Many of the lawmakers then started coming home by Monday. The order was signed by Travis County Judge Brad Urrutia, a Democrat. The order says that the Democratic lawmakers cannot be arrested, detained, or confined in any way for two weeks. The order will be re-heard by Aug. 20.

Twenty-six Texas Democratic lawmakers remain in Washington. They reportedly plan to continue lobbying for the federal voting legislation they are asking Congress to pass.