As soon as San Antonio Democrat Philip Cortez steps foot on Texas soil, they’ll arrest him, slap him in chains and drag him down to the state Capitol. The Republican Speaker of the Texas House, Dade Phelan, was furious enough to swear out a warrant for Cortez which translates as something we’ve all heard from our mother. “Get back in the House this instant!” All the Democrats are AWOL to prevent the Republicans from passing a law against election rigging.
Civil arrest warrant
Phelan is especially angry with Cortez, because the liberal rat lied to him. After the whole herd of Democrats jumped ship and raced to D.C. for protection of the Imperial Palace, Cortez came back to Austin and acted like he wanted to deal. That’s what the arrest warrant is about.
The backstabbing progressive “returned to Austin from Washington in what he said was an attempt to engage in ‘good faith dialogue’ about House Bill 3, the election legislation.” When his buddies found out about it, they came unglued. “Other Democrats criticized Cortez’s move, saying the lawmaker did not first consult with them before returning to Austin.”
The way Phelan explains it, “Rep. Cortez returned to the Texas Capitol of his own volition and represented to me and his fellow members that he wanted to work on policy and find solutions to bring his colleagues back to Texas.” The deal had specific terms.
“As a condition of being granted permission to temporarily leave the House floor, Rep. Cortez promised his House colleagues that he would return. Instead, he fled the state and has irrevocably broken my trust and the trust of this chamber.” He’ll be placed under arrest as soon as he enters the jurisdiction.
In order to do anything in the Texas legislature, they have to have a “quorum,” which means a minimum number of legislators on the floor to vote. According to the arrest warrant, law enforcement is “take The Honorable Philip Cortez, a Member of the House of Representatives of the State of Texas, who is now absent from the House, wherever said Member may be found in the State, into your custody and safekeeping and bring said Member before the bar of the House instanter.”
Yes, instanter really is a word, even if it is an old and dusty one that only lawyers use. It means “without delay” and is generally taken to mean “the same day or within 24 hours.”
New: Here's a copy of the civil arrest warrant for @CortezPhilip signed by @DadePhelan yesterday after he returned to DC. #txlege pic.twitter.com/oqbQtQ86vN
— Brad Johnson (@bradj_TX) July 26, 2021
Failure is not an option
Phelan made it crystal clear to the police that failure to make the arrest is not an option.
“This writ being issued under a duly-adopted order of the House pursuant to Article III, Section 10, Texas Constitution, made in exercise of its lawful powers to compel the attendance of absent members in the manner provided under the House Rules of Procedure. Herein fail not, but make due return hereof to this House.”
The rules are firm that “Two-thirds of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business.” As long as that many are there, the extras can go about other business and be absent but the ones who are there are required to bring in enough to make sure the minimum is always on hand before leaving.
Cortez went back to Washington Sunday, without leaving behind a quorum. Now he faces arrest over it.
The renegade lawmakers are hailing him as a hero, with the Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner lavishing praise on Cortez. “In the Texas House Democratic Caucus, our unity is our strength. We welcome Rep. Phil Cortez, who is a valued member of our Caucus, back to Washington, D.C. with open arms.”
“All 57 Democrats breaking quorum are just as firm in our commitment to seeing this through until the end as we were the day we left. We are united and unrelenting in our commitment to protect the freedom to vote.” That’s easy for him to say, he’s not facing arrest. They plan to stay on vacation “until after August 6, the last day of the special session.”