Texas – Six years in the making, the federal district court panel released its opinion late last week in the long arduous litigation we call Texas Redistricting. This 2-1 decision is only the beginning since it is in regard to the state legislature’s 2011 map, which has since been replaced. The court has yet to consider the 2013 map, which is in place currently, and the state legislative map for the lower house.
What is the importance of this decision on a now defunct map? The court could require Texas to return to the preclearance regime, which was overturned in the Shelby case by the Supreme Court, but can still be instituted as a remedial tool for a court that finds it warranted. There also many political considerations that loom considering that real people have been elected to districts in Texas that could change. Then, there is the certain change that will come after the 2020 census, when a new round of redistricting begins.
In the meantime, take a look at the major news dailies’ coverage of the decision. Governing.com gives a good summary of the case and its history. The Star-Telegram gets the Texas Attorney General’s comments on the ruling. Local affiliate KSAT talks with one of the congressman currently elected to one of the invalidated districts. Politico looks at the legal and political significance of the ruling. The Washington Post reviews the decision and its implications. The courthousenews.com gives a lively preview of the dissenting judges’ equally lively and scathing opinion which we can’t help but quote here:
“It was obvious, from the start, that the DOJ attorneys viewed state officials and the legislative majority and their staffs as a bunch of backwoods hayseed bigots who bemoan the abolition of the poll tax and pine for the days of literacy tests and lynchings,”