With Texas Democrats having fled to Washington, D.C. to stop the passage of an election integrity bill back in their home state, the question has become what happens next. They are tentatively looking to hold out until the current special session ends as that would conceivably relieve their legal duty to show up and do their jobs. Of course, Gov. Greg Abbott will likely just call another special session to prevent such gamesmanship from taking place.
That leaves Texas officials with the next viable option, which is to arrest and force the appearance of the fugitive lawmakers in order to allow the system to work as mandated.
Yet, if you listen to Politifact you’d be under the impression that such clear legal authority is not available under Texas law. While “fact-checking” the issue, the partisan-influenced outlet’s Austin arm rated Ted Cruz’s claims on the legal authority to arrest the fleeing Texas Democrats as outright “false.”
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) July 21, 2021
There are many, many problems with this. I’ll start by mentioning that the Texas Democrats themselves recognize they can be arrested, as many of them have taken to calling themselves “fugitives” in their own social media posts. Secondly, as shown above, other left-wing outlets such as The New York Times admit the provision exists within the law to arrest and bring the lawmakers onto the Texas House floor to provide a quorum.
Past that, Ted Cruz himself responded with a no-punches-pulled takedown of Politifact’s clearly wrong ruling on his comment.
The facts speak for themselves. I rest my case. pic.twitter.com/g1E8QWds2S
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) July 21, 2021
As Cruz notes, not only is the language explicit within the Texas Constitution that lawmakers can be brought into attendance by force but that provision was copied from the United States Constitution which includes hundreds of years of precedent allowing for the arrest of lawmakers who refuse to show up and provide a quorum as required by law.
In fact, as Steve Guest points out, we have examples of that happening in the past, with one lawmaker being carried onto the floor of the Senate feet first in a comical display.
The SAME provision is in the U.S. Constitution, and has been used for over 200 years to compel the attendance of members, including carrying one member of the United States Senate into the Senate Chamber feet first. https://t.co/605xtuCIkH
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) July 21, 2021
Further, if that provision did not exist, then the Texas Democrats would not be in Washington D.C. right now. The entire point of them leaving the state was to avoid being arrested and compelled by force to appear. Is Politifact claiming those lawmakers are lying about their motivations for leaving the state?
Here’s the thing, even if Politifact wanted to argue some minutia in the law, the proper rating here would still be “mostly true” as the language clearly exists and the precedent to use it clearly exists. It certainly wouldn’t be “false” as they concluded. Yet, Politifact has a long history of rating objectively true claims by Republicans as false, hiding behind claims of missing context or ignoring other available data. This isn’t the first time they’ve done this to Ted Cruz either, and their standards are incredibly biased. That Politifact is allowed to pose as an unbiased source of factual information, specifically for social media sites, is a joke.