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Harris interim map up to the judge

In addition to the San Antonio interim map action, we are fixing to get a 2012 map for Harris County courtesy of the federal judiciary.

A federal judge will draw interim boundaries for Harris County commissioner precincts after the county and the Latino activists who sued them over their redistricting plan could not agree on a map.

The map that U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore approves will be used for the 2012 elections. The precinct in which the plaintiffs allege Hispanic voting power has been illegally diminished – Precinct 2 – will not be contested until 2014, however.


A trial focused on producing an interim map, not on the plaintiffs’ other claims, [began] Tuesday, First Assistant County Attorney Terry O’Rourke said. Gilmore has indicated she would like to have a map by the end of the week, O’Rourke and Dunn said.

“The judge really does understand that we want to hold an election here in 2012 and there are certain deadlines that work backwards,” O’Rourke said. “That’s what the pressure is.”

Mediation failed, so this was the next step. I certainly can’t say that I’m surprised. All of the testimony was given yesterday, and we could get a new map as soon as today.

“After the mediation Thursday it just seems like the other side is almost not negotiating in good faith, like anything they propose they know would be unacceptable” to the county, [Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack] Morman said Monday. “So, at some point – and I guess we’re at that point today – you just say, ‘What’s the point, let’s just let the judge do her job.’‚ÄČ”

Project much, Jack? The reason why anything the plaintiffs proposed would be unacceptable to you and your cohorts is because all you care about is ensuring your own re-election. All other considerations are at best secondary. But I think we all agree that at this point we should just let the judge do the job. Stace has more.

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  1. Mainstream says:

    If the existing 3 districts which are up for election this cycle do not disadvantage any racial or language minority group, then why cannot the proposed map be used for this cycle with a full trial to adjust boundaries if necessary prior to 2014? The court could adopt the commissioners map as a temporary remedy, noting that the temporary adoption is without prejudice to the ongoing dispute.

  2. I believe that is the county’s argument, to use the existing map for the three non-Morman precincts. I presume the plaintiffs’ counterargument would be the same as the one they have made in San Antonio against using the Lege-passed maps as starting points for the 2012 maps, which is that you can’t use something that hasn’t been precleared as a basis; that would imply using the existing map as a basis instead, which would then need to be tweaked to adjust for population. The latter situation, where the DOJ alleged discriminatory intent on the part of the state, may be different than the one here. I agree that using the map that the Commissioners passed for this cycle is a possible, maybe even likely, outcome. We’ll see what the judge has to say.

  3. […] work on weekends, because federal Judge Vanessa Gilmore issued this order on Saturday creating an interim map for Harris County, to be used for the 2012 election while the Section 2 lawsuit is being litigated. Greg has a color […]