Court Blocks State’s Redistricting Maps
A three-judge federal panel in Washington ruled today that the state of Texas used “an improper standard or methodology” to redraw state and congressional district boundaries.
That means candidates filing for the March primary don’t know yet what district they’ll be running in.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott had asked the judges to approve the maps without a full trial. But the court ruled that it couldn’t OK the maps without a more extensive vetting process.
Another three-judge panel, this one in San Antonio, will now be tasked with drawing temporary district maps by Nov. 28. That’s the first day candidates can file for the primary elections.
“Now, all the eyes will turn to just what those districts will look like,” Jim Henson, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, told KUT News. “So you’ve got a whole slew of candidates in Texas, basically everybody in the Legislature, running in districts that they don’t really have an enormous amount of assurance what the lines are. That goes for the congressional races, too.”
Henson says this is a big win for Democrats such as State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. That group has maintained that the Republican-dominated Legislature discriminated against minorities when drawing the district maps.
State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, told KUT News he can understand how Democrats could see this ruling as a victory. But he says this is just a part of the legal process.
“Does this mean that either the Republicans or the attorney general’s office loses? No,”Seliger said.
Members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus speculate that the interim redistricting maps will be issued by the San Antonio court in the next week to 10 days.