It’s official, the maps the Lege drew for itself and for Congress will not be used in the 2012 election.
A Washington-based federal court on Tuesday rejected Texas’ request to approve new political districts without a trial.
In a brief ruling, the court agreed with the U.S. Department of Justice that the GOP-led Legislature used an improper standard for determining whether the new districts discriminate against minorities. The order clears the way for a trial.
The ruling means temporary maps, being crafted by a San Antonio court, will likely be implemented in the interim to allow election workers and candidates to make necessary arrangements for next year’s primary elections.
Having carefully considered the entire record and the parties’ arguments, the Court finds and concludes that the State of Texas used an improper standard or methodology to determine which districts afford minority voters the ability to elect their preferred candidates of choice and that there are material issues of fact in dispute that prevent this Court from entering declaratory judgment that the three redistricting plans meet the requirements of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Remember, the state sued in the DC court because they’d get a better deal than the Justice Department. They also thought, or at least they believed AG Greg Abbott when he claimed they’d get a quicker resolution than the traditional route. Oops.
The order applies to the Congressional, State Senate, and State House maps that were drawn by the Lege. The SBOE map did receive preclearance and is good to go. Expect to see an awful lot of campaign activity in the coming weeks, once people realize where they are and what the new districts really will look like. Among other things, the Senate map may well look a lot brighter for Sen. Wendy Davis, but it wouldn’t stop there. If you look at the population analysis, the Davis/LULAC map creates 13 Democratic Senate districts – the 12 existing ones plus a new one in Dallas County (SD09) that it achieves by pairing John Carona and Florence Shapiro, the latter of whom is retiring anyway. To say the least, if the San Antonio court adopts that plan, it’s quite a game changer. Postcards, PoliTex, the Trib, BOR, and Texas Redistricting have more.