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DC court will take its time

At least a month.

No hurry, right?

A panel of federal judges told parties in a Texas redistricting case Wednesday not to expect a ruling within 30 days, throwing the date of the state’s political primaries further in doubt.

A ruling by the District of Columbia court in the complex case was expected to provide guidance to another federal panel in San Antonio trying to draw new maps for state House, Senate and congressional elections.

If the San Antonio court wants to maintain the April 3 primary date, “it will have to draw plans without benefit of a ruling from District Court in D.C.,” said Nina Perales with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The San Antonio court could wait for a ruling by the D.C. court, which concluded testimony this week on dilution of minority voting strength and discriminatory intent.

Michael Li, who was the first to report this, was blunt about what it means.

“An April 3rd primary clearly is dead, absent an agreement,” said Michael Li, a Dallas lawyer and author of a Texas redistricting blog.

Li added that it’s still possible to have an election on April 17 if a federal court in San Antonio doesn’t wait for the Washington court’s decision before it draws interim maps for the U.S. House, Texas House and state Senate.

Also, the order by the Washington court increases the possibility of a split primary in which the presidential and perhaps some other elections would be held separately from races for Congress and the Legislature, Li said.

Li went on to note at his blog that the San Antonio court has called for briefs by the 10th and a status hearing on the 15th. So yeah, I’d say they’re waiting for the DC court if there’s no settlement.

I think the state may feel some pressure to settle – we’ve heard enough from county elections administrators to know that a split primary will be a huge burden on them, and pretty much nobody wants to drag this out till the summer – but that’s easier said than done, especially if the plaintiffs feel like the state is playing favorites. Monday the 6th is the drop dead date for an agreement that would enable an April primary, so we’ll see what happens. I think the San Antonio court, having been swatted once by SCOTUS, will not take action until it gets clear guidance either from the DC court or the litigants themselves. And so we wait. NewsTaco has more.

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  1. I have already read that Republicans plans to redistrict again next year. They will have the majorities to do it as they did in 2003. This is a continuing issue. What I’m wondering today is will there be enough time to have delegates in place for the state conventions in early June this year, if the primaries are May 5th or later?

  2. The Republicans plan to redistrict again because they overreached and will likely lose in court.

  3. Burt Levine says:

    Kenneth-The counties and cities have agreed they do not want to and will fight against having primaries the same month as the local school board and city elections (other than Houston ISD and City of Houston).

  4. Mainstream says:

    The proposed congressional districts in the supposed agreement between the Attorney General and minority parties in the San Antonio court case caught me by surprise. Ted Poe’s district would weave from Kingwood through Spring Branch, the Heights, and Montrose to the Rice U area. Nutty! And possibly could be a poor fit for Poe, although I have not yet reviewed the numbers. I would bet a Bill White could make that seat competitive.