Texas Democrats fled Austin in order to prevent Republicans lawmakers from forming a quorum and passing controversial voting reform legislation.
“I’m disappointed in the decision by the Texas Supreme Court. We intend to fight this decision at the federal level,” Texas state Rep. Ron Reynolds told Fox News immediately following the court’s decision.
Roughly 25 Texas lawmakers have remained in Washington, D.C., but Democrats who returned to Texas are now under threat of arrest if they do not willingly return to the state legislature to establish a quorum.
If arrested, the lawmakers will not face criminal charges but will instead be brought to the Capitol in Austin and be forced to form a quorum, which will allow for the passage of top GOP bills.
“I’m not sure how long we would be detained if captured,” Reynolds said. “We have no plans to return to Austin yet to make quorum.”
Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan told the Texas Tribune that state police had been deputized to retrieve lawmakers who have remained absent from Austin since the initial special session last month.
Fox News could not immediately reach Dade, who along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, petitioned the court to overturn a separate protective order barring lawmaker’s arrests on Monday.
The state’s Supreme Court issued stay on Wednesday after the Texas high court blocked a similar order by a district judge in Travis County earlier in the week.
Abbott applauded the court’s decision and said, “The Dems have filed some of the most embarrassing lawsuits ever seen.
“Time for them to get to the Capitol and do the job they were elected to do,” he added.