State District Judge Darlene Byrne of Austin, a Democrat, issued the order at 5:02 p.m. and set a hearing on a temporary injunction for June 22.
Attorneys Chad Dunn of Houston and Cris Feldman of Austin represented the Democratic Party in court. The Republicans were represented by party General Counsel Donna Davidson.
Dunn said evidence in Fort Bend County shows DeLay still has a homestead exemption, is registered to vote and has a Texas driver's license. Dunn said DeLay also was continuing to represent the district in Congress at the time Benkiser said the county chairs could start picking a replacement.
Dunn also said the Democratic Party wants to permanently block Benkiser from replacing DeLay. Dunn said state law allows a candidate to be replaced on the ballot if they move out of state, but he said the move must be for a compelling reason.
"If you move out of the district, it's because you have a compelling reason to do so, not just because you can't win it," Dunn said. He said to allow the party to replace DeLay would set a precedent for manipulating the election process to "cherry pick" candidates.
Austin lawyer Margaret A. Wilson, representing the GOP, denied in court that the party cooperated with DeLay on his exit strategy.
"This is not something the party plotted," Wilson said. "Whether or not, Tom DeLay plotted it, we'll never know."