The NAACP on Wednesday called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate Texas into arrest warrants issued by the Texas Speaker of the House for Democrats who fled the state to block Republicans’ efforts to pass a draft law on electoral security.
“I am writing on behalf of the NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the United States, on behalf of those people in Texas who fear a government that has determined that it does not have to respect the United States Constitution and can arrest and imprison citizens for their political beliefs, ”wrote NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson.
“There is no allegation that any of the Democrats to be arrested have committed a crime. Instead, they should be arrested because of their protected political views and affiliations, ”he added. “In an age when political minorities face the threat of arrest and jail in Texas, the eyes of the county and the world are on the DOJ and the way it treats the actions of Texas. We urge the DOJ to open an investigation and take immediate action. measures to prevent threatened illegal arrests. “
TEXAS SPEAKER SIGNS ARREST WARRANTS FOR ABSENT DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS
The letter comes as the DOJ takes a tougher stance against states that change their election laws. He released guidelines late last month saying he could sue states for reverting to pre-pandemic voting rules after the coronavirus goes away.
The department has already sued Georgia over a controversial electoral security law it passed earlier this year. Now Johnson wants the Biden administration to take action against Texas for similar reasons.
« [B]By leaving the state, the Democrats in the Texas Legislature foiled attempts by the Republicans in that state to pass election laws that would clearly have the effect of allowing 40% of the population to dominate Texas for the foreseeable future ” Johnson said. the legislation presents what can easily be described as a continuum of discrimination, from voter registration to the counting of ballots, declaring winners and other post-election activities.
He added, “Without the protection of the DOJ, it is more than likely that those who intend to overthrow democracy in Texas will be successful in their efforts.
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Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan, a Republican, Posted civil arrest warrants this week for Democratic lawmakers who broke the quorum and thus blocked the GOP’s efforts to pass its election bill. The civil arrest, which is different from a criminal arrest, would be purely for the purpose of bringing lawmakers back to the state capital to ensure a quorum. The warrants were made possible by a Texas Supreme Court ruling removing a temporary restraining order from a lower court that prohibited the legislature from issuing the warrants.
Republicans say Texas Democrats shirk their responsibilities as they spend time in Washington, DC, arguing for S.1, a bill that would massively expand the role of the federal government in state-run elections.
“The Texans are not shirking their responsibilities. Neither do elected officials, ”Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a Facebook post reacting to the Texas Supreme Court order earlier this week. “It’s time for Democrats to get back to work. “
Texas Democrats say they will stay in Washington, DC, until their state’s Republicans abandon their efforts to pass their election bill. They also argue that the arrest warrants are illegal.
“It’s no surprise that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan want to arrest their political opponents,” Democrats said in a statement earlier this week. “Fortunately, it’s still the United States of America. We will defend the freedom to vote, and we look forward to our temporary injunction hearing on August 20. “
Jacqui Heinrich of Fox News contributed to this report.