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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This morning, the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus filed a supplemental advisory with the San Antonio court attaching a letter from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to House Speaker Joe Straus, urging that the court-drawn interim maps be made permanent.

The letter, dated March 8 but not public until now, told Straus that in Abbott’s opinion:

The best way to avoid further intervention from federal judges in the Texas redistricting plans, and ensure an orderly election without further delay or uncertainty, is to enact the interim maps during the regular session. These maps already have the approval from the federal judges overseeing this litigation. Enacting the interim plans into law would confirm the legislature’s intent for a redistricting plan that fully comports with the law, and will insulate the State’s redistricting plans from further legal challenge.

MALC’s new advisory strongly disagreed, telling the court that the D.C. court’s preclearance decision “casts serious doubts on whether the interim plans ‘fully comport with the law’ as remedial plans.”

On the congressional map, the MALC advisory argued:

The interim plan fails to remedy the retrogression found by the D.C. District Court. Although the interim plan incorporates two of the replacement districts [in the enacted plan] … and arguably cures the retrogression in CD 23, the retrogression caused by the elimination of CD 25 is not addressed in the interim plan. ¬†In addition, it could be argued that this Court’s elimination of the enacted plan’s fragmentation of minority voters through gerrymandered lines in the Dallas and Tarrant County area addresses the discriminatory intent found by the D.C. Court to some degree; however, it certainly does not systematically address the issue.

The advisory also said that while the interim map made some changes to the Legislature’s state house map, it did not fix all issues - most notably with respect the elimination of HD 33 in Nueces County.

The advisory, with the Abbott letter as an attachment, can be found here.