The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday rejected electoral boundary maps drawn by a panel of federal judges in San Antonio. The nation's highest court said the panel, in trying to preserve the voting influence of federally protected minority groups, veered too far from the redistricting maps created by the Republican-dominated state legislature.
Now that panel of federal judges in San Antonio must create new maps. And it set a hearing on the issue for February 1. The maps create new boundaries for Texas House, Texas Senate and U.S. Congressional districts across Texas.
But the Texas Attorney General says he just wants them to get on with it because he's worried about delaying the Texas primary elections. The state's primaries have already been pushed back to April 3 and may now be delayed further.
"In order to preserve the unified April 3, 2012 primary election date agreed to by the State’s major political parties and ordered by this Court, Defendants respectfully request that this Court vacate its Order of January 20, 2012 and enter an expedited Scheduling Order that will allow for entry of new interim redistricting plans by January 30, 2012," the AG's office said in a statement. Read the entire news release below.
State Asks San Antonio District Court to Speed Up Scheduled Proceedings in Order for Elections to be Conducted April 3, 2012
AUSTIN --Late today, the San Antonio District Court, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the court-drawn interim redistricting maps, set a scheduling order calling for a hearing on February 1, 2012.
In response, the Office of the Attorney General immediately filed a Motion to Reconsider, because the court's schedule appears to delay when Texas primary elections could take place.
In order for elections to be held as currently planned -- and ordered by the court -- on April 3, the Attorney General's Office is requesting that the court consider all legal matters on a time frame that allows new maps to be issued by the end of January.
Below is text from the State's Motion to the Court:
DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE COURT’S ORDER OF JANUARY 20, 2012
Defendants appreciate the Court’s speedy response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s vacatur of the interim redistricting plans for the Texas House of Representatives, Texas Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives. Defendants are concerned, however, that the schedule ordered by this Court will not allow for entry of new interim redistricting plans in time for primary elections to be conducted on April 3, 2012, as previously ordered by this Court.
As this Court recognized after receiving input from both the state’s major political parties and state and local election officials, redistricting plans must be in place by February 1, 2012—at the very latest—in order for primary elections to be conducted on April 3, 2012. Under today’s Order, however, a status conference will not be held until February 1, 2012, and it does not appear that the Court anticipates entering new interim redistricting plans by that date.
In order to preserve the unified April 3, 2012 primary election date agreed to by the State’s major political parties and ordered by this Court, Defendants respectfully request that this Court vacate its Order of January 20, 2012 and enter an expedited Scheduling Order that will allow for entry of new interim redistricting plans by January 30, 2012. The State is prepared to assist the Court in any way possible to ensure its prior order to hold unified primary elections on April 3, 2012 can be fulfilled.