Plaintiff groups in the Texas redistricting litigation in San Antonio told the court that it should go ahead and start the process of drawing remedial state house and congressional maps for use in 2014, but disagreed slightly about the timing of the process.
Under proposals from two plaintiff groups, the state would have until March 1, 2013 to submit new proposed remedial maps, with plaintiff groups then being given until April 1 to submit any alternative maps or object to the state’s maps. The court then would hold a map hearing in late April and rule on new maps by July 1.
The groups told the court that this schedule would allow counties time to redraw precinct lines in time for the start of precinct chair candidate filings on September 10 and minimize impact on the Texas election schedule. At the same time, they told the court the schedule would give the Supreme Court time to rule on both the constitutionality of section 5 in Shelby County v. Holder and on Texas’ appeal of the D.C. court’s redistricting ruling (both rulings expected by late June) before issuing final maps.
The Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force filed a separate advisory proposing a more drawn out schedule which would allow the Texas Legislature an opportunity to consider and adopt new redistricting plans.
Under the Task Force’s schedule, the state would file proposed maps by March 8 but objections to plans would not be due and the plaintiffs’ remedial plans would not be due until June 1 (after the end of the Legislature’s regular session) and a hearing on proposed remedial plans would not take place until June 21. The advisory proposes August 15 as a target date for a ruling on new maps.
All of the groups told the court it should not wait for a ruling on in Shelby County v. Holder on the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
As explained in the advisory for one of the plaintiff groups, starting early was important in the groups’ view because “[i]f the Supreme Court upholds Section 5’s constitutionality and affirms the D.C. court’s denial of preclearance to the state’s redistricting plans - and nothing has been done between now and then to get final redistricting plans in place - only about a month or month and a half will remain to start and finish the entire, complex process.”
In the state senate case, LULAC and the group of plaintiffs led by State Sen. Wendy Davis told the court that it should adopt the existing interim map (which restored SD-10 to its pre-2011 benchmark configuration) as the final remedial map and that no further changes were needed.
As of 8:45 p.m., the state’s position had yet to be filed.
Here are the parties’ advisories: