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Posts Tagged ‘Voting Rights Act’

Redistricting plaintiffs go for Section 3

It’s a brand new world out there. Minority-rights groups are charting “new territory” in the fight against Texas’ redistricting plan, using a provision of the Voting Rights Act that cites discriminatory intent as part of an effort to maintain federal oversight of the state’s congressional maps. The NAACP and the League of United Latin American […]

PPP polling miscellany

Public Policy Polling has some additional results from its latest venture into Texas. -By a 54/21 margin Texas voters say that they support the Voting Rights Act, including 45/23 even with Republicans. Only 29% of voters say that they favor the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn parts of the VRA last week, with 45% opposed. […]

Redistricting tango continues in San Antonio

More to the point, the redistricting litigation continues, at least for the time being. A panel of federal judges denied the state’s request to dismiss the case, though they left open the possibility that they could do that later. And they asked lawyers to file briefs on what should happen next. Attorneys for parties objecting […]

Clock strikes midnight for North Forest

This was a tough blow for NFISD. North Forest school officials lost one of their final court battles Wednesday, making the district’s state-ordered merger into HISD five days from now increasingly likely. U.S. District Judge David Hittner rejected the last-ditch claims by North Forest that the school system’s takeover by the Houston Independent School District […]

The 2011 maps are officially dead

Rick Perry has signed the redistricting bills, thus making the 2012 interim maps the official state-sanctioned maps and thus dropping any further pursuit of the maps drawn by the 2011 Lege. On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry signed all three redistricting bills that lawmakers sent to him. With his signature, Perry set the district boundaries for […]

Not so fast on voter ID enforcement

Oops. Top Texas leaders acted without legal authority when they claimed to be moving forward with implementing the state’s controversial voter ID law, a veteran Supreme Court watcher said today. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Secretary of State John Steen both said after the Supreme Court struck down the core of the country’s voting […]

RIP, Section 5

By now you are well aware that SCOTUS has dealt a blow to the Voting Rights Act. They actually left Section 5, which is what requires certain parts of the country (including Texas) to get preclearance on voting-related changes, intact, but instead ruled that Section 4, which defined who was under the purview of Section […]

The special session won’t be so short

The original idea behind the special session on redistricting was that it would be a quickie – gavel in, vote to adopt the interim maps as permanent, maybe vote on a few wingnut wish list items, and gavel out again. That may yet be the basic timeline, but it will take more time than first […]

Justice Department engaged in North Forest closure

A possible ray of hope for supporters of North Forest ISD, which is still hoping to survive past July 1 when the TEA’s order for it to be subsumed into HISD takes effect. The chief of the Justice Department’s voting section wrote a letter to the Texas Education Agency saying federal officials need to know […]

Many questions at the redistricting hearing

From the Trib: The Legislature is currently considering whether to ratify maps drawn by the three federal judges and used in the 2012 elections. It became clear during Wednesday’s hearing that the judges and the lawyers in the case agree that the Legislature probably can’t make changes to the maps during the special session — […]

Why a special session on redistricting won’t resolve anything

From Texas Redistricting: Intentional Fragmentation  In the other parts of the map, redistricting plaintiffs contend that the Texas Legislature intentionally diluted African-American and Hispanic voting strength by fragmenting cohesive communities. This fragmentation, they argue, is especially pronounced in the DFW Metroplex, where the court-drawn interim map (Plan H309) adopted the Texas Legislature’s map (Plan H283) […]

Redistricting hearing set in San Antonio

Texas Redistricting: The San Antonio court entered an order this afternoon setting a hearing for May 29 at 9 a.m. to decide what to do with the Texas maps – or, more exactly, to decide how to decide what to do. The order acknowledged that the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby Co. would “affect the final […]

Abbott predicts special session for redistricting

For the first time, someone says out loud the rumor of a special session on redistricting. Attorney General Greg Abbott let House members know in the Republican caucus meeting on Tuesday that he expects and is hoping for a special session on redistricting — sooner than later. Several lawmakers in the meeting confirmed that Abbott […]

Ana Reyes makes history in Farmers Branch

I didn’t pay much attention to Saturday’s elections, since there was nothing on the ballot for me and there were few races of interest around the state. One place where there were races worth watching was in Farmers Branch, and the news from there was excellent. Ana Reyes became the first Hispanic to win a […]

So where does redistricting stand?

From Texas Redistricting: The Texas Legislature is in the final stretch of its regular session (sine die on May 27), and, at this point, in the calendar, if anything gets done, it looks like it will have to start on the Senate side. Although a couple of redistricting bills – along with some proposals for […]

Redistricting remains a partisan issue

We’re not surprised by this, right? Amarillo Sen. Kel Seliger offered a redistricting bill to the Senate State Affairs Committee that would formally adopt interim maps drawn by a federal court in San Antonio last year. The maps for Congressional, state Senate and House districts were used for the 2012 election while a federal court […]

Senate committee to take up interim maps bill

From Texas Redistricting: The Texas Senate’s state affairs committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, April 18, at 2 p.m. (or upon adjournment) to consider SB 1524 – State Sen. Kel Seliger’s bill to adopt the court-drawn interim maps as permanent. As drafted, the bill would apply to all three maps that are currently in […]

Still pondering Abbott’s redistricting motives

The Trib’s Ross Ramsey wonders what Greg Abbott is up to. Greg Abbott is selling a redistricting nostrum, telling Texas legislators they could cut their legal risks by adopting new political maps right away. It is a hard sell. Lawmakers are getting along so well they practically break out into song every day. Abbott, the […]

Voter ID and the Driver Responsibility Program

Grits returns to a question he has asked before. The Dallas News last week (March 24) published a feature behind the paywall by reporter Terrence Stutz titled “Texas lawmakers want brakes put on driver surcharges for road violations,” as well as an editorial on the public part of their site calling for the repeal of […]

Advising the court on redistricting

Last Friday, all parties to the Texas redistricting lawsuit submitted their advisories to the San Antonio court, in which they told the court what they think it should do once the Supreme Court has rendered a decision on the Voting Rights Act. You can see what they all had to say there, or you can […]

Abbott asks for the interim maps

Very interesting. The recently dormant Texas redistricting issue woke up Thursday with a disagreement between the state’s attorney general and a Latino legislators’ group. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has called on the Legislature to make the current — and interim — redistricting maps permanent. Abbott’s letter to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus — which […]

The redistrictor’s dilemma

Some fascinating news from Texas Redistricting. Friday’s bill filing deadline in the Texas Legislature brought bills by State Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) – chair of the House redistricting committee – and State Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) to make permanent the three interim maps drawn by the San Antonio court last year. The identical bills […]

Is Section 5 doomed?

While there’s been a lot of reporting and analysis suggesting a grim future for the Voting Rights Act, SCOTUSBlog’s Lyle Denniston suggests that maybe, just maybe, Section 5 ain’t dead yet. Sometimes, in Supreme Court argument, a single phrase can speak volumes. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the one member of the Court who bore the […]

We could do something to make voting easier if we wanted to

With all the negative news about voting rights in the news these days – voter ID, electoral college gerrymandering, challenges to the Voting Rights Act – it’s good to remember that positive change is still possible. On two major occasions—during his election-night speech and second inaugural address—President Obama has highlighted the need for election reform. […]

How should the San Antonio court proceed after SCOTUS rules on Section 5?

That’s what the San Antonio judges in the redistricting case asked the parties to help it figure out. In its order, the court told parties what has been widely assumed – namely that the panel would “not issue any opinion, if at all, under after the Supreme Court resolves the Section 5 matters.” However, the […]

Single member districts for Farmers Branch

Another long battle comes to an end. A Dallas federal judge has directed Farmers Branch to implement single-member City Council districts after the U.S. Justice Department signed off on the city’s proposed map. The move could set the stage for a fiery May 11 election in which the outcome may provide the suburb of 29,000 […]

Looks like we’ll be waiting on SCOTUS for awhile

Texas Redistricting: The Texas redistricting appeal wasn’t on the list of cases reviewed by the Justices at their screening conference today. With the passage of time – and the case not even being listed for review – the calendar now makes it highly unlikely that the court could take up the case even if it […]

SCOTUS has not taken up the Texas redistricting lawsuit yet

Texas Redistricting: No decision announced [Friday at the Supreme Court about whether the court will hear the Texas redistricting case. The court, however, could issue additional orders on Monday. The Justices haven’t had these briefs for long, so it’s not surprising they haven’t taken action yet. They have conferences on January 11 and 18, and […]

SCOTUS voter ID update

The matter is officially with the Supreme Court now. A federal court deferred further proceedings in a lawsuit filed by Texas over the state’s voter identification law until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on whether part of the Voting Rights Act is constitutional. A three-judge panel in Washington said today that “in the interest of […]

Where redistricting stands with SCOTUS

From Texas Redistricting: What happens now in the Supreme Court? With the filing of motions to affirm or dismiss last week by the Justice Department and intervenors, Texas’ appeal of the preclearance ruling is now ready for review by the Justices. Under Rule 18 of the Supreme Court rules, the clerk of the Supreme Court […]

Plaintiffs want to proceed with new redistricting maps

Texas Redistricting: Plaintiff groups in the Texas redistricting litigation in San Antonio told the court that it should go ahead and start the process of drawing remedial state house and congressional maps for use in 2014, but disagreed slightly about the timing of the process. Under proposals from two plaintiff groups, the state would have […]

Parties split on waiting for SCOTUS

Texas Redistricting: Lawyers for the Justice Department and intervenors in the Texas voter ID case told the court yesterday that the court should put off consideration of Texas’ claim that section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional until the Supreme Court decides the pending Shelby County v. Holder case next year. That case involves a […]

Voter ID case will likely wait for SCOTUS, too

Texas Redistricting: In a move not too surprising, the three-judge panel in the Texas voter ID case also has asked the parties to brief the question of whether the court should delay taking up questions about the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act given Supreme Court’s grant of cert. in Shelby County […]

Shall we wait for SCOTUS?

Texas Redistricting: The three-judge panel in San Antonio overseeing redrawing of Texas’ redistricting plans has signaled that it is at least considering the possibility of delaying action on new maps until the Supreme Court decides questions about the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, asking the parties to brief by December 3 […]