The State of Texas today filed its opening brief - called a jurisdiction statement - in its appeal of the D.C. panel’s late August ruling denying preclearance of the congressional and legislative maps passed by the Texas Legislature.
The brief argues the panel erred by ruling that Texas needed to increase the number of majority minority congressional districts to keep up with population growth and in holding that Anglo majority crossover districts, such as CD-25 and SD-10, are protected under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
The brief also argues that the panel erred by allowing private litigants to intervene and make claims about the state senate map despite the fact that the Justice Department initially did not find problems with that map.
In the alternative, Texas argues that section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional.
Once the jurisdiction statement is docketed, DOJ and intervenors will have 30 days to respond. If the Supreme Court decides that the questions raised on appeal are substantial enough to be considered (almost a certainty), the parties will have an opportunity for additional briefing before the case is set for oral argument in the early part of next year.
A decision in the case is not expected until late spring at the earliest.
In the mean time, the parties are due to submit proposals to the San Antonio court by December 1 how to they would propose to have the San Antonio court fix the maps or oversee efforts by the Texas Legislature to fix the maps.
The state’s brief can be found here.