Of all the silly ploys the left has pulled lately, this one takes the proverbial cake. The NAACP, which used to be a leading civil rights group, is calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate Texas state Republican lawmakers for threatening to have Texas Democrats arrested. Will the plea fall on deaf ears?
NAACP Cries ‘Foul’
When Gov. Greg Abbott called a special session last month to vote on a new election law and other legislative priorities, a gaggle of Texas lawmakers fled the state for a taxpayer-funded vacation in Washington, D.C. Their absence meant there could be no quorum in the state legislature preventing a vote on the bill. In response, Abbott as well as other GOP officials threatened to arrest the Democrat lawmakers and compel them to attend the proceedings. This action did not sit well with the NAACP. Associated Press reported:
“NAACP President Derrick Johnson sent the letter late Wednesday to Kristen Clarke, who runs the Justice Department’s civil rights division. In the letter, Johnson said he had conferred with at least three of the Democrats who had been threatened with arrest and agreed that federal authorities should step in to investigate.”
In the letter, Johnson also argued: “At this time when political minorities are threatened with being rounded up and imprisoned in Texas, the eyes of the country and the world are upon DOJ and how it deals with Texas’s actions.”
On Wednesday, the Texas House of Representatives issued civil arrest warrants for each Democrat avoiding the legislature. According to AP: “Refusing to attend legislative sessions is a violation of House rules — a civil offense, not a criminal one, leaving the power the warrants carry to get Democrats back to the chamber unclear, even for the Republicans who invoked it.”
Johnson argued that the DOJ “could determine that the Texas governor and Republican members of the Texas House have openly conspired” to violate civil rights law. The NAACP head also averred that if the DOJ does not act, “it is more than likely that those intent upon subverting democracy in Texas will be successful in their efforts” and that the state “will be able to jail and detain those who stand up to those in power.”
Where Will This Lead?
The possibility that the DOJ will heed the NAACP’s request seems like a longshot. Texas is not the only state in which state lawmakers can be arrested for avoiding the legislature. Indeed, in 2019, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown ordered the state police to round up Republicans who fled to Idaho to scupper a vote on climate change legislation. Oddly enough, the NAACP did not have any complaints back then.
Furthermore, it is worth pointing out how unlikely it is that anyone at the DOJ will believe Johnson’s contention that the state government in Texas will become some kind of tyrannical force, locking up anyone who disagrees with it. But either way, one must give him credit for trying.