Lawyers for the Justice Department filed a motion yesterday in the Texas redistricting case asking the three-judge panel in the case to order the State of Texas to turnover legislative documents.
DOJ lawyers told the panel that “for the first two years of this litigation, Defendants produced legislative documents through party discovery.”
However, in the most recent round of discovery, DOJ said:
Texas has refused to provide the information and has instead told the United States that it must subpoena documents from each legislator and individual for whom the request is made.
There is no reason that justifies Defendants’ actions here. Defendants simply have reversed course and asserted that the Texas legislature is a third party and that the United States may obtain certain legislative documents only through subpoenas to individual legislators.
DOJ told the panel that the state’s position was inconsistent with long-standing practice in section 2 litigation:
In nearly fifty years of litigation under the Voting Rights Act, the United States has consistently brought claims under Section 2 against jurisdictions in their entirety. In these cases, the United States has consistent obtained legislative documents in party discovery.