Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is a favorite target of the corporate press and progressive left-wing media attacks. Cruz recently hit back against the “fact-checkers” at Politifact and the Austin American-Statesman who inaccurately stated the law applicable to the Texas state lawmakers who fled the state to temporarily prevent a vote on a new election integrity law there.
When the group of Democratic Texas legislators fled to Washington, D.C., via private jet earlier this month and vowed not to return until the legislature was no longer in session, Texas Governor Greg Abbott began calling special sessions to compel their attendance. Given their unwillingness to return, the governor’s only choice is to arrest them and force them to appear when they return to the state.
Sen. Cruz, who researched the same legal issue when serving as solicitor general for Texas in the early 2000s, said, “There is clear legal authority to handcuff and put in leg irons legislators that are trying to stop the legislature from being able to do business.” That statement was rated as “false” by Politifact and the American-Statesman.
Because there are no reported cases of Texas lawmakers arrested for violation of the state constitution and the legislative rules, the media has deemed that the law says what it does is not valid. Of course, it ignores the explicit powers granted in the Texas constitution.
In addition to Cruz’s citation of the applicable parts of the Texas state constitution, the conduct of the Democratic lawmakers also reflects their understanding of the simple provisions of the law. By declaring themselves as “fugitives” and fleeing the state in a highly public manner, they express their intention to avoid the reach of Texas law and the power to arrest them for compelling their attendance.
In response to the “fact check,” Cruz posted a video to his Twitter account containing a video with this statement:
“The Texas Constitution is clear. They can be arrested, and if they refuse to come and do their jobs, they will be arrested and physically taken to the floor of the house, and the legislature is going to do its job. The Texas Constitution explicitly authorizes using force to compel attendance. That language is copied word for word from the U.S. Constitution, and there are hundreds of years of precedent of arresting a fleeing legislator, with the power to literally put them in handcuffs and leg irons if necessary.”
Whether the Texas runaways will quietly return to their duties or if Gov. Abbott will have them arrested and transported when they return to the state is still up in the air.