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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Texas’ suit over its voter ID law has been assigned to a familiar face, Judge Rosemary Collyer, who is one of three judges hearing Texas’ suit over preclearance of its redistricting maps.

In addition to Judge Collyer, Chief Judge David Sentelle of the D.C. Circuit, on Friday, appointed Circuit Judge David Tatel and District Judge Robert Wilkins to sit on the panel. (Order here)

Here’s more background on the three judges:

Judge Tatel.

Judge Tatel was appointed to the D.C. Circuit in October 1994 by President Clinton. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1963 and the University of Chicago Law School in 1966.

Following law school, he taught for a year at the University of Michigan Law School and then went into private practice with the firm of Sidley & Austin in Chicago. From 1969 to 1970, he served as Director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, then returned to Sidley & Austin until 1972, when he became Director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C. From 1974 to 1977, he returned to private practice as associate and partner with Hogan & Hartson, where he headed the firm’s Community Services Department. He also served as General Counsel for the newly created Legal Services Corporation from 1975 to 1976. In 1977, Judge Tatel became the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He returned to Hogan & Hartson in 1979, where he headed the firm’s education group until his appointment to the D.C. Circuit.

Judge Tatel is the author of the 121-page district court level opinion in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1. v. Holder, which upheld the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  He also is one of three judges on the panels hearing challenges to section 5 being brought by Shelby County, Alabama and a group of voters in Kinston, North Carolina. 

Judge Wilkins.

Judge Wilkins was appointed to the bench in February 2010 by President Obama and confirmed in December 2010. A native of Muncie Indiana, he obtained his B.S. cum laude in chemical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Following graduation, Judge Wilkins clerked for the Honorable Earl B. Gilliam of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. He later served as a staff attorney and as head of Special Litigation for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and he also practiced as a partner with Venable LLP, specializing in white collar defense, intellectual property and complex civil litigation.

In 1992, Judge Wilkins also was the name plaintiff in a suit over racial profiling against the Maryland State Police, which resulted in a settlement requiring Maryland State Police to maintain records of all traffic stops.

Judge Collyer.

Judge Collyer was appointed to the district court bench in January 2003 by President George W. Bush.

Before joining the bench, she was a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Crowell & Moring LLP from 1989 to 2003. Judge Collyer served as General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (1984-89) and Chairman of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (1981-1984).

She graduated from the University of Denver College of Law (1977) and Trinity College Washington, D.C. (1968). She practiced law with Sherman & Howard in Denver, Colorado, before her government service. Judge Collyer is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the American Bar Association Foundation.

The voter ID case is docketed as Case No. 1:12-cv-00128.