In a demonstrably meritless lawsuit, 22 Texas Home Democrats sued a few of the state’s prime Republican leaders in federal court docket in Austin over the efforts to deliver them residence for a particular legislative session. After fleeing to Washington, the legislators declare that the criticism and threats made by the governor and different infringed on their constitutional rights to free speech and to petition the federal government for redress of grievances. Regardless of current requires sanctions and disbarments for frivolous filings by Republicans (which I’ve expressed considerations over), none of these specialists are expressing the identical view of this submitting, which is shockingly wanting authorized benefit.
Gov. Greg Abbott has known as for a second specifically known as legislative session and he has known as for the arrest of members to deliver them to the ground for a quorum. Phelan signed a civil warrant for Rep. Philip Cortez, D-San Antonio, after he returned to the Texas. Cortez nonetheless then fled again to D.C. The lawsuit sues not solely Abbott and Home Speaker Dade Phelan however State Rep. James White. White’s inclusion is especially curious because the Democratic members are declaring fealty to free speech whereas attempting to sue one other members presumably for his train of free speech.
The grievance by Craig Anthony Washington, a former Democratic lawmaker, additionally doesn’t use Phelan’s authorized identify (Matthew McDade Phelan) however simply “Dade Phelan.” It additionally misspells Abbott’s identify on web page one as “Abbot.”
Unusually, the counsel on the transient is listed as “Deguren and Dickson.” It’s not clear if that’s imagined to be DeGuerin and Dickson which has an workplace on the listed deal with. There may be an e mail on the grievance studying “[email protected]”
The plaintiffs listed within the case are state Reps. Senfronia Thompson, Trey Martinez Fischer, Gene Wu, Vikki Goodwin, Ron Reynolds, Eddie Rodriguez, Jon Rosenthal, Jasmine Crockett, Mary Ann Perez, Alma Allen, Christina Morales, Nicole Collier, Celia Israel, Ana-Maria Ramos, Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, Terry Meza, Donna Howard, Jarvis Johnson, Ray Lopez, Shawn Thierry, Elizabeth Campos and Gina Hinojosa.
The Democrats sue over deprivations brought on by their very own choices to flee the state to stop the vote. It was an ironic second as Democrats in Washington celebrated their act whereas they denounced filibusters. The Texas Democrats had been finishing up a sort of de truth filibuster by flight. Nevertheless, they’d not have incurred these prices however for their very own actions. Two different Democratic members have been criticized over taking a trip to Portugal after fleeing to Washington.
But, the submitting alleges that the Republicans are conspiring in opposition to them in plain view in response to their consensual consent:
Plaintiffs allege that in doing the acts and issues complained of, the Defendants had been conspirator [sic] engaged in a scheme and conspiracy designed and supposed to disclaim and deprive them of rights assured to them beneath the Structure and legal guidelines of the US and significantly these herein above enumerated.
They ask for $5 in precise damages and $10 in punitive damages. Nevertheless, Washington is searching for his charges beneath the Civil Rights Lawyer Charges Act.
Beneath Rule 3.1 a “lawyer shall not deliver or defend a continuing, or assert or controvert a problem therein, until there’s a foundation in legislation and truth for doing so that isn’t frivolous.” Furthermore, the defendants may search sanctions beneath Federal Rule of Civil Process 11 claiming a lawsuit “for an improper function” of inflicting “pointless delay.” Certainly, Democratic activists in Texas have filed such complaints in opposition to Republicans on these grounds.
These Democratic members are asking a federal court docket to permit a lawsuit based mostly on the usage of statutorily permitted sanctions in response to their very own choices to flee the state. There isn’t any authorized authority that immediately help such a declare. Certainly, the brief grievance reads extra like a press launch from the DNC — restating political claims with a caption on the highest.
Right here is the grievance: Thompson v. Abbott