From the Lone Star Project, via the inbox:
Sen. Davis, Rep. Veasey Win Key Redistricting Ruling
Federal Court rejects Texas Republican argument and grants North Texas Intervenors the right to participate in redistricting trial
A group of North Texas citizens supported by the Lone Star Project and the Texas Justice Fund and led by State Senator Wendy Davis (SD10 – Fort Worth) and State Representative Marc Veasey (HD95 – Fort Worth) have won an early and important redistricting victory. The Federal District Court in Washington, DC that is reviewing the controversial redistricting plans submitted by Texas Republicans has granted a group led by Davis and Veasey and includes several other North Texans permission to participate in the legal review of the plans as full parties to the suit.
As parties to the suit, Davis and Veasey can present detailed evidence showing that the Republican State Senate plan and Republican Congressional plan protect and expand Republican control in Texas by illegally undermining the voting strength of African Americans and Hispanics.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, representing Governor Perry and Republican legislative leaders argued against intervention by Davis and Veasey. Abbott’s argument was flatly rejected. In a short and direct ruling, the Federal Court stated:
Before the Court is the Motion to Intervene as Defendants filed by Wendy Davis,
Marc Veasey, John Jenkins, Vicki Bargas and Romeo Munoz (“Movants”). Movants seek to intervene either as of right, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(2), or permissively, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(b)(1).
The parties oppose intervention as of right, but agree that permissive intervention may be proper in this matter. Accordingly, upon consideration of the motion, the parties’ memoranda, and the entire record herein, it is hereby ORDERED that the Motion to Intervene as Defendants pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(b)(1) [Dkt # 5] is GRANTED; it is further ORDERED that defendant-intervenors Wendy Davis, Marc Veasey, John Jenkins, Vicki Bargas and Romeo Munoz shall file their Answer to the Complaint no later than August 24, 2011.
The North Texas Intervenors are currently the only parties other than the State of Texas and the US Department of Justice allowed to participate in the legal review of the Texas maps. If others ask to intervene in the coming days, their efforts will be aided by the strong and effective arguments made by Davis and Veasey.
Comments by Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle
“This is good news for fair-minded Texas citizens and bad news for partisan Texas state leaders. The Texas maps grossly violate the US Voting Rights Act, and that fact can now be proven in Court.”
“Senator Davis and Representative Veasey are courageous leaders who will stand up to bullies to protect their constituents. All Texans can be proud of them both.”
“Unfortunately, current Texas state leaders approach redistricting as an exercise in partisan greed. They would rather violate the law and attack the basic voting rights of citizens than attempt to win elections through a fair exchange of ideas.”
“Today’s ruling is just an early round of a long fight, but it proves that partisan bluster should not be believed and that justice and law and order have a chance to prevail. “