TEXAS REDISTRICTING & ELECTION LAW

Updates about ongoing redistricting litigation in the Lone Star State and coverage of election law more generally. This website's goal is to try to make sure the redistricting process and litigation over voting law is as transparent and accessible as possible to the public. Hopefully, it will be of some use to a broad range of interested parties, both lawyers and non-lawyers. Have questions, comments, suggestions, additional content, or a redistricting joke (or two)? Feel free to contact me: Michael Li, michael.li@mlilaw.com, 202.681.0641.
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Today was the deadline for parties in the San Antonio case to submit proposed interim maps for the court’s consideration in the event no timely pre clearance decision is handed down by the three-judge panel in Washington.

The Plaintiffs’ Interim Plans

All of the plaintiffs’ plans have substantial similarities, though they differ in the details.  

All would add a new Hispanic opportunity district in North Texas, and all, in some way, would restore Lloyd Doggett’s congressional seat (CD-25)- most by creating a ‘tri-ethnic’ coalition seat strongly anchored, if not wholly contained, in Travis County.  All also would make adjustments to CD-23- currently represented by freshman Republican, Quico Canseco- to improve the district’s ability the elect the “Hispanic candidate of choice.”

However, there also are divergences.

Proposals submitted separately by MALC and State Senator Wendy Davis and State Representative Marc Veasey would create an additional African-American opportunity district in the DFW Metroplex (CD-35 in both Plan C211 and Plans C202 and C204).  

By contrast, the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force and Travis County plaintiffs would forgo that seat and, instead, create a new Hispanic opportunity seat in Harris County (CD-36 in the Task Force’s Plan C213 and CD-36 in the Travis County plaintiffs’ Plan C166). 

Ditto Travis County (only more so).  

LULAC, the Travis County plaintiffs, the Davis/Veasey plaintiffs, and NAACP, each have proposed interim maps that would undo the controversial new San Antonio/Austin seat (CD-35) - thus, avoiding what looks to be an increasingly nasty Doggett/Castro fight.  

In place of that district, the Davis/Veasey plaintiffs would keep a Central Texas-based Hispanic opportunity district (CD-33 in Plan C204), centered in Bexar County and running northwards into western Bastrop County, just on the other side of the county line from Travis County.  The NAACP, likewise, would create a slightly different Hispanic opportunity district (CD-28 in Plan C193) that runs from San Antonio to the Hays County/Travis County line.

LULAC and the Travis County plaintiffs, by contrast, each would draw a new north/south Hispanic opportunity district running from Bexar County to the U.S./Mexico border.

MALC and the Latino Task Force, however, choose to keep an Austin/San Antonio district in place (CD-34 in Plan C211 and CD-35 in Plan C213)- though both would somewhat reduce the portion of Travis County contained in the new district.

MALC’s Plan C211 also would put Lloyd Doggett’s current seat (CD-25) wholly west of I-35 (where it would be 69.1% Anglo).  

The Latino Task Force would anchor the Doggett seat in western Travis County but run it east to take in large parts of Bastrop and Guadalupe counties.  As with MALC’s proposal, the district would be heavily Anglo (63.8% to be exact).

The other plaintiffs’ proposals would anchor the Doggett district in East Austin.

Complicated?  Well, kinda of par for the course with the Travis County situation from the get go.

The State of Texas’ position

In its papers, the State of Texas, not surprisingly, takes the position that the panel should simply adopt the legislatively passed maps as the interim maps, arguing that the “intent of the State of Texas … is due great deference when the judiciary intercedes in the province of the legislative branch.”  

The state argues that “such maps are appropriate for interim designation, having neither been formally objected to by the Department of Justice not the subject of a United States District Court for the District of Columbia order rejecting them.” 

The plaintiffs’ reject the notion that the state’s un-precleared maps can be used on an interim basis since such maps reflect policy decisions of the state and are therefore subject to pre clearance under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Congressman Canseco

Freshman Republican Congressman Quico Canseco (CD-23) also has submitted two interim congressional map proposals (Plan C209 and Plan C212).

During trial on the claims before the San Antonio court, the court expressed a number of concerns about changes to CD-23 under the state’s map.

In response to concerns raised by the court at trial, both these maps would create a new Hispanic opportunity district in North Texas that is substantially identical to the district included in Congressman Lamar Smith’s proposal to the Texas Legislature in April 2011.

The maps also would make changes to Congressman Canseco’s district by placing Maverick County wholly within CD-28 and putting the Harlandale ISD wholly in CD-23- in each instance also in response to concerns expressed by the court at trial.

The maps also make several what Canseco terms concessions in order to try to “obtain agreement by both Democrat and Republican members of the Texas congressional delegation.”  According to Canseco, these ‘concessions’ include splitting Nueces County to preserve distinct communities of interest and returing parts of downtown San Antonio to CD-20 as desired by Congressman Charlie Gonzales.

____________________

Here are the parties’ statements:

Travis County Plaintiffs:
http://tinyurl.com/3c7ageh
Davis/Veasey:
http://tinyurl.com/3tzgdwx
LULAC:
http://tinyurl.com/3dhgtgh
MALC:
http://tinyurl.com/3m49gbe
Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force:
http://tinyurl.com/3v5avo7
NAACP and African-American members of Congress:
 http://tinyurl.com/43wepzf
Perez (Dutton) plaintiffs:
http://tinyurl.com/44tkhjz
State of Texas:
http://tinyurl.com/4xs72lh

Congressman Cuellar:

http://tinyurl.com/3ol2px4
Congressman Canseco (proposed amicus):
http://tinyurl.com/3ohqgpx

___________________________________

All the maps can be found at http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us.  A list of proposed interim maps can be found here:

http://txredistricting.org/post/11587491920/more-interim-maps-out

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