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More on the re-re-redistricting timetable

Here’s some more information on the timetable to fix CD23 as announced yesterday by the three-judge panel.

U.S. District Judge John T. Ward of Marshall set oral arguments in the case for Aug. 3. Other judges on the panel include U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Patrick Higginbotham of Dallas and U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal of Houston.

Those eligible to submit maps include 14 individuals, the state of Texas and 15 local governments and organizations.

The groups include the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the American GI Forum, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Texas NAACP, the Texas Democratic Party and the Republican Party of Texas.

However, it’s unlikely that each party will submit a different map. Some individuals who are parties in the lawsuit are citizen representatives of the groups involved. Also, some groups may cooperate to produce a single map to present to the court.

It’ll be interesting to see who works together on this, and what their final products will look like. Bear in mind that not everyone who was an ally in the lawsuit will necessarily be an ally in the redrawing process. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson and former Rep. Martin Frost, both Dallas Dems, were famously at odds over the 1991 effort, which eventually led to the 1996 court-ordered do-over. Everyone has their own interests in this sort of thing, and people you wouldn’t expect can get crosswise with each other.

When a three-judge panel drew the state’s congressional districts in 2001 after the Legislature failed to do so, about 20 days elapsed between the end of the trial and the time the court ordered new districts.

That makes the ETA for a new map about August 23. Perry is skeptical that this leaves enough time to have an open primary in November, but I think it can work. If you set a short filing deadline – say, September 5 – that gives two full months for the campaign, which is no less than what we have now for regular primaries. You can have such a deadline for filing because by August 3, everyone will at least know what maps are in play, and can make whatever contingency plans they need to based on that. So, I continue to think this can be made to work, and I continue to think that however imperfect it may be, it’s better than having another election for the illegal CD23.

I wanted to do a Chron archive search to see what the time frame was for the 1996 situation, but as I write this their 1985-2000 stuff is unavailable. Anyone remember when the new map was put into place back then?

(UPDATE: August 6, 1996. See Kuff’s World for more.)

Dallas Blog has a copy of Judge Ward’s order (PDF), if anyone is interested in that.

One more thing:

Gov. Rick Perry declined to say whether he would call the Legislature into special session to change the congressional districts.

“It’s always been my preference that the Legislature take care of these issues,” Perry told reporters Thursday before learning of the panel’s order.

Except of course when he thinks it suits his purposes, as was the case in 2001. I’m going to repeat that every time Governor Perry opens his self-serving mouth on this point. It’s my fond hope that some time between now and (say) July 14, some enterprising reporter brings it up.

UPDATE: Valley Politico makes an interesting observation:

If the congressional changes are in place by November, a member of the Texas Legislature could be on their regular ballot for re-election, and they can also be on the special election ballot for Congress.

Hmm… I wonder who from the Valley legislative delegation would run…

The Lloyd Bentsen Rule rides again! I think we already know one such rep with an itch to run (see the end of this post if you’re not sure who I mean). Does anyone else have that itch? We may get to see.

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2 Comments

  1. blank says:

    Well, of course any liberal’s dream would be to keep Doggett in the 25th, run Raymond in the 23rd, have the 28th redrawn and run Ciro. This assumes that the 28th is redrawn, which it sounds like it doesn’t need to be. Actually, I was really hoping Raymond would run in the 23rd before the primary, but now he has a chance of not only running but winning.

  2. seth says:

    didn’t you mean conservative dream, not liberal? all of the folks you mentioned will now be defeated under that scenario.