From the Texas Election Law Blog:
As Rick Hasen has reported, [Wednesday] the plaintiffs in the 2011 redistricting lawsuit asked the three-judge panel for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division to enjoin the State of Texas from using the patently illegal district boundary lines that were used in the 2014 election.
Evidence-wise, the plaintiffs have a slam-dunk on this one – the State has lost at every turn with respect to the question as to whether the 2011 redistricting violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act; and there isn’t any serious disagreement on the facts – the State enacted a redistricting plan that was motivated by racial animus in order to limit the voting rights of racial minority groups.
For some reason that has never been explicitly articulated, the court appears to be paralyzed and unable to move on this issue. Possibly the members of the redistricting panel fear that any dramatic change in boundary lines will draw a disastrous results-oriented Supreme Court rebuke that might leave the plaintiffs in an even-worse position. but that doesn’t really justify the timidity with which the court has approached this matter. Whatever the motivation, the risk is now quite high that just as with the Texas elections in 2012 and 2014, the 2016 primaries and general election might be conducted using bad maps.
He’s been asking these questions for awhile now. The trials for the State House and Congressional maps were held more than a year ago, and according to this post, the “last substantive order from the court was a scheduling order back in mid March, asking the parties to submit briefs on a 5th Circuit ruling related to the “mootness” of the fight over the 2011 Texas House of Representatives and Congressional districts”. What could the holdup be? Your guess is as good as mine, but filing season for 2016 opens November 14 – i.e., less than four weeks from now – and runs through December 14. Either we get a ruling on what maps to use before then, we once again use the same maps that have been previously declared illegal, or we have another year with later-than-planned primaries. Surely the first choice is the best one, no? Let’s get on with it, y’all. Enrique Rangel has more.