Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) debunked a misleading PolitiFact fact-check on the ability of authorities to arrest Texas Democrat lawmakers who last week shirked their duties, fleeing the state to deny the Republican-majority chamber a quorum to pass voting legislation.
Last week, PolitiFact conducted a fact-check of Cruz’s statement on arresting Texas Democrat lawmakers who fled from the Lone Star State to Washington, DC — a move that earned praise from radical leftists, who lauded their supposed acts of courage.
“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,” Cruz said, earning a “false” rating from PolitiFact, as detailed in the Austin American-Statesman.
However, the Texas Constitution explicitly authorizes using force to compel attendance, and the language is copied “word for word” from the U.S. Constitution, Cruz noted, citing hundreds of years of precedent of arresting fleeing legislators. In fact, the fact-check itself recognizes that:
Article III, Sec. 10 of the state constitution provides little guidance for the situation at hand. In one short paragraph, the document states that the House can “compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each House may provide.”
The facts speak for themselves. I rest my case. pic.twitter.com/g1E8QWds2S
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) July 21, 2021
Further, Rule 5, Section 8 of the House Rulebook states that “absentees for whom no sufficient excuse is made may, by order of a majority of those present, be sent for and arrested, wherever they may be found, by the sergeant-at-arms or an officer appointed by the sergeant-at-arms for that purpose, and their attendance shall be secured and retained.”
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) July 21, 2021
However, the fact-checkers seemingly dismissed these truths, focusing on the ability to physically use handcuffs:
Although Cruz’s interpretation of the law finds that there is “clear legal authority” to handcuff Democratic lawmakers and put them “in leg irons,” others treat this as a gray area of the law.
Regardless, it is also clear that handcuffs can be part of the arrest of fleeing legislators, as authorities are fundamentally authorized to use restraints when the situation warrants it. However, the fact-checkers rated Cruz’s claim “false” because “it’s unclear how the use of the word ‘arrest’ should be interpreted”:
The Texas House Rules states that absent lawmakers can “be sent for and arrested, wherever they may be found.” But, because absent lawmakers aren’t charged with a crime, it’s unclear how the use of the word “arrest” should be interpreted in this context. This is because no Texas court has reviewed how this provision is to be enforced. Thus, there is no legal clarity.
“There is an explicit provision in the Texas Constitution and a House rule authorizing the arrest of legislators who refuse to show up to do their jobs,” Cruz spokesman Steve Guest said in a statement.
“The same provision is in the U.S. Constitution, and has been used for over 200 years to compel the attendance of members, including carrying one member of the United States Senate into the Senate Chamber feet first,” he continued.
“Pretending that the law doesn’t clearly allow for the arrest and potential physical compulsion of delinquent legislators is patently absurd,” Guest said.
Superspreader event gets super-er. https://t.co/3izHgn45Ah
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 19, 2021