Abbott Crushes Democrats: Supreme Court Denies Request to Restore Pay after Walkout
Dem lawmakers' actions backfire
Democratic lawmakers have been denied their petition to restore funding to the state legislature, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Monday.
In June, Republican Governor Greg Abbott vetoed funding for the state legislature to block paychecks from Democratic lawmakers.
The action was taken against Democrats after they refused to attend votes on the bills and blocked the Texas House from conducting business to stall Republican-backed legislation.
But after Abbott cut funding to the legislature, Democrats petitioned the Texas Supreme Court to overturn the governor’s veto of state funding.
But the court denied the request saying the issue is between two co-equal branches of government and outside of the court’s purview.
“While in the District of Columbia, Democratic House members have met with members of the Biden administration and Congress to urge passage of federal legislation on voting and have held public meetings to draw attention to their cause,” the court wrote.
“They have publicly stated that the importance of defeating the Republican-supported elections bill justified their departure from Texas and breaking quorum even though it also prevented the Texas House from restoring Article X funding."
"They have not returned to the House to allow it to continue business.
"The Republican House members, for their part, have insisted that the House pass the elections bill and perhaps other legislative priorities before addressing Article X funding.
"The special session expired on August 6.”
“These public statements and events make it clear that the subject of the petition for writ of mandamus — the lack of Article X funding for the Legislature — continues to exist not because of a dispute between the Governor and the Legislature, nor even because of one between the Governor and a minority of House members.
"Rather, the principal dispute is among the members of the Legislature,” the court continued.
The court also noted that the majority of members in the Republican-controlled legislature back Abbott’s agenda.
“Although the Governor certainly seeks to advance legislation he favors, the majority of the members of the Legislature support the same legislation. Relator House members oppose that legislation and have broken quorum to further their opposition,” the court said.
“It appears from the record of the special session that they could have restored Article X funding for the Legislature had they been present to vote to do so.
"They have chosen to continue to absent themselves in order to prevent passage of voting legislation.
"The legislative majority could have chosen to restore Article X funding before taking up the legislation the Governor favors. They have chosen not to do so.”
“This political dispute within the legislative branch is not an issue of separation of powers that we can decide,” the court continued.
“For these reasons, the petition for writ of mandamus is denied.”
The lawsuit against Abbott also claimed his threat to arrest them upon their return to the state caused them “distress,” “anxiety,” and “embarrassment.”
The Texas Tribune reported:
Twenty-two Texas House Democrats sued some of the state’s top Republican leaders in federal court in Austin late Friday, alleging that GOP officials’ efforts to bring them home for a special legislative session infringed on their constitutional rights to free speech and to petition the government for redress of grievances.
The lawsuit was filed on the final day of the first special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott — and on the eve of a second specially called legislative session — and names as defendants Abbott, House Speaker Dade Phelan, and State Rep. James White.