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What this means, I don't even know yet. As many of you may recall, Texas courts rejected the original maps gerrymandered by Republicans back in December, which led to court-drawn maps which were highly favorable to Texas Democrats. The court-drawn maps were then thrown out by the Supreme Court in January, which evidently led to the interim maps they had up until now...

Now, the US District Court in Washington just struck down those maps down this afternoon.

From Huffington Post:

The U.S. District Court in Washington ruled in a lengthy opinion Tuesday that state prosecutors failed to show Texas lawmakers did not draw congressional and state Senate district maps "without discriminatory purposes."
What happens after this is confusing, because three sets of maps have now been struck down. Does the District Court draw another set of maps? Does the Texas Legislature draw another interim set of maps?

According to the linked article, Texas AG Greg Abbott intends to go back to the Supreme Court with this. Judging from the composition of the Supreme Court, and their handling of the court-drawn maps back in January, I'm not terribly optimistic.

Also, according to Texas Redistricting:

The big question following today’s Texas redistricting opinion is ‘what happens now?’

At the moment, that’s a bit unclear.  Waiting for the redistricting opinion had become a bit like waiting for Godot - so folks are still digesting the opinion and looking at options.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has taken the position that the opinion will not affect the November election, which he says will proceed on the interim maps put into place back in February.

On the other hand, it is certainly possible to see a move to adjust those interim maps in the San Antonio court.  For example, CD-23 arguably could be restored to its benchmark configuration fairly easily.  Similar arguments might also be made with respect to HD 117 and 149, which are wholly contained in their respective counties.  

In 1996, for example, the three-judge panel ordered jungle primaries in a number of congressional districts which were held on the date of the November election, with a runoff a month later.

But all that will be that a call that Attorney General Abbott and the redistricting plaintiffs in San Antonio will have to make in coming days.

As for appeal, Attorney General Abbott has already said that he will appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could set the case for oral argument as early as this fall.

Stay tuned.  Things are getting interesting again.

3:06 PM PT: From The Nation:

Texas is one of seven GOP states that recently filed an amicus brief supporting a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act before the Supreme Court. The state has already vowed to appeal the redistricting case to the Supreme Court, which could also hear Texas’s voter ID case if overturned. Texas, it should be noted, has lost more Section 5 enforcement suits than any other state. Today’s ruling is another black eye for Republicans in the Lone Star State.
I hadn't thought of that, but I suppose this all ties in with the challenge of the Voting Rights Act that Texas is part of -- and that we haven't been too optimistic about. As I recall, the word after the PPACA ruling was that Chief Justice Roberts was "keeping his powder dry" in order to wreck progressive legislation in the future.

Most of the article preceding that excerpt mostly reiterates what the article in Huffington Post states, with the inclusion of an interesting excerpt from the Court regarding the motives of the Texas Legislature:

Congressman Al Green, who represents CD 9, testified that “substantial surgery” was done to his district that could not have happened by accident. The Medical Center, Astrodome, rail line, and Houston Baptist University — the “economic engines” of the district — were all removed in the enacted plan. The enacted plan also removed from CD 9 the area where Representative Green had established his district office. Likewise, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents CD 18, testified that the plan removed from her district key economic generators as well as her district office. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of CD 30 also testified that the plan removed the American Center (home of the Dallas Mavericks), the arts district, her district office, and her home from CD 30. The mapdrawers also removed the district office, the Alamo, and the Convention Center (named after the incumbent’s father), from CD 20, a Hispanic ability district.

No such surgery was performed on the districts of Anglo incumbents. In fact, every Anglo member of Congress retained his or her district office. Anglo district boundaries were redrawn to include particular country clubs and, in one case, the school belonging to the incumbent’s grandchildren. And Texas never challenged evidence that only minority districts lost their economic centers by showing, for example, that the same types of changes had been made in Anglo districts.

The only explanation Texas offers for this pattern is “coincidence.” But if this was coincidence, it was a striking one indeed. It is difficult to believe that pure chance would lead to such results. The State also argues that it “attempted to accommodate unsolicited requests from a bipartisan group of lawmakers,” and that “[w]ithout hearing from the members, the mapdrawers did not know where district offices were located.” But we find this hard to believe as well. We are confident that the mapdrawers can not only draw maps but read them, and the locations of these district offices were not secret. The improbability of these events alone could well qualify as a “clear pattern, unexplainable on grounds other than race,” and lead us to infer a discriminatory purpose behind the Congressional Plan.

3:53 PM PT: Courtesy of one of the commenters, this has been the timeline of events:

1. Special three member District Court struck down the lines drawn by the Lege

2. District Court drew interim lines so that the primaries could be held, but the Lege would have to fix the lines they drew in 2013 or the interim lines would remain in affect

3. Texas Republicans hate the district court drawn lines and appeal to the Supreme Court.

4. Supreme Court stays the district court draw lines pending hearing further delaying primaries.

5. Supreme Court strikes down the district court drawn lines saying the court has to show deference to the Lege drawn lines in correcting the unconstitutionality of those lines.

6. The special district court redraws the Lege lines to fix what they deemed to be unconstitutional about them. Republicans still hate the lines because they screw minorities less and allow for Anglo Democrats to survive, but cannot delay primaries further.

7. Primaries held under the version 2 court drawn lines while the second redistricting case in DC is still pending.

8. DC District court also finds Lege drawn lines unconstitutional further putting the nail in the coffin of the Lege drawn lines that formed the basis of the San Antonio Court drawn lines.

FUTURE EVENTS

9. Elections will proceed under the temporary lines drawn by the San Antonio court.

10. The Texas Lege (which goes back into session in Jan 2013) will have to redraw the lines as the basis for the interim lines is unconstitutional and would require a third version of court drawn lines if the Lege fails to act to correct the problems found by the DC court.

Earlier, I implied that the maps struck down today were drawn by the Texas Legislature. Apparently, they were actually a second set of maps drawn by the same panel that drew the maps the were struck down by the SCOTUS...

In any case, it looks like those maps will be used in November since they've already been used for the primaries.

Originally posted to Zutroy on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bring in the "Bug"inator (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hungrycoyote, coquiero, MKSinSA, ColoTim, Woody

    I am sure he has a set of maps that he would like to see implemented.

    Republicans - they measure our national success by corporate profit margin, not the well being of the citizens.

    by egarratt on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:16:33 PM PDT

  •  So who the hell is my representative? (7+ / 0-)

    I'm so confused.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted that Perry et al got this epic smackdown handed to them, I just thought it was a done deal.

    This is good news.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:16:46 PM PDT

  •  This is a big you might want to add (12+ / 0-)

    from The Nation

    Texas is one of seven GOP states that recently filed an amicus brief supporting a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act before the Supreme Court. The state has already vowed to appeal the redistricting case to the Supreme Court, which could also hear Texas’s voter ID case if overturned. Texas, it should be noted, has lost more Section 5 enforcement suits than any other state. Today’s ruling is another black eye for Republicans in the Lone Star State.
    Damn that Voting Rights Act.  It's screwing up all their plans to screw the electorate.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:20:58 PM PDT

  •  This is BIG, but (6+ / 0-)

    confusing and unresolved, at least for 2012.

    Stay tuned, indeed.

    Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:24:56 PM PDT

  •  The maps they used in the primaries are the ones (6+ / 0-)

    they will use in the election: the ones drawn by the special court in San Antonio. That's according to NPR, which just ran a story on it.

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

    by Flyswatterbanjo on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:27:10 PM PDT

    •  But that means the redistricting stands, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      txcatlin, kamarvt, MKSinSA, Woody

      doesn't it?

      That makes no sense.

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:28:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, it means there will be new maps in 2014, (6+ / 0-)

        at the very least, assuming the courts don't fuck this up any further -- and I'm quite confident they will.

        "Let's put the jam on the lower shelf so the little people can reach it." - Ralph Yarborough

        by Zutroy on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:41:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well the Rs (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          entrelac, Woody, coquiero, FarWestGirl

          thought they lost in the settlement that led to the interim maps and put an initiative on their primary ballot directing the Lege to take up redistricting again next year. No doubt they will and there is no doubt they have learned nothing nor will Greg Abbott restrain their worst impulses. He'd just as soon pay his buddies to take through the courts.

          "When you're swerving on life's highway you're running someone off the road." Robert Earl Keen

          by Wordsinthewind on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:46:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  NPR didn't say what will happen, just what did (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKSinSA, ColoTim, Woody, coquiero

        Disappointed to hear the reporter say the 150 page ruling was full of "gobbledygook". Clearly out of her depth on this assignment.
        Mention was made that the gerrymandering was clearly discriminatory in intent; at least two districts represented by AA's were gutted, while none represented by whites were restricted at all. "Could not be a coincidence".
        Audio and transcript of the story should be posted here shortly.
        I only heard a part of it, as I was on my way to vote in the VT primary, mostly to confirm my registration status and get some cake. It's not like Bernie Sanders, Peter Welch, or Gov Shumlin are even in a pattycake fight for their jobs this time around... I LOVE VERMONT!

        R-Money/R-Ayn, the ENRON Ticket, is not a campaign; it's a hostile takeover bid.

        by kamarvt on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:43:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  NPR did say what would happen. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero, kamarvt

          The last question was "which maps will be used for the election?" and the answer was the maps drawn by the special court in San Antonio.

          Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

          by Flyswatterbanjo on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 03:00:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Which redistricting do you mean? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Woody, coquiero

        It's the interim districting plan that will be used. That's good for dems, for now.

        Here it is from the texas attorney general:

        The Washington DC court's decision applies to the maps originally enacted by the Texas Legislature--so the November elections will proceed as planned under the interim maps drawn by the federal court in San Antonio.
        http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/...

        Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

        by Flyswatterbanjo on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:47:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wait a minute, the maps that the SCOTUS struck (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MKSinSA, coquiero

          down in January?

          "Let's put the jam on the lower shelf so the little people can reach it." - Ralph Yarborough

          by Zutroy on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:50:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coquiero

            And like you, I don't understand how that is the case.

            Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

            by Flyswatterbanjo on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 03:24:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  NO! They redrew their redraw (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Woody, coquiero, bear83

              To the best of my understanding, here is the sequence of events:

              1. Special three member District Court struck down the lines drawn by the Lege

              2. District Court drew interim lines so that the primaries could be held, but the Lege would have to fix the lines they drew in 2013 or the interim lines would remain in affect

              3. Texas Republicans hate the district court drawn lines and appeal to the Supreme Court.

              4. Supreme Court stays the district court draw lines pending hearing further delaying primaries.

              5. Supreme Court strikes down the district court drawn lines saying the court has to show deference to the Lege drawn lines in correcting the unconstitutionality of those lines.

              6. The special district court redraws the Lege lines to fix what they deemed to be unconstitutional about them. Republicans still hate the lines because they screw minorities less and allow for Anglo Democrats to survive, but cannot delay primaries further.

              7. Primaries held under the version 2 court drawn lines while the second redistricting case in DC is still pending.

              8. DC District court also finds Lege drawn lines unconstitutional further putting the nail in the coffin of the Lege drawn lines that formed the basis of the San Antonio Court drawn lines.

              FUTURE EVENTS

              9. Elections will proceed under the temporary lines drawn by the San Antonio court.

              10. The Texas Lege (which goes back into session in Jan 2013) will have to redraw the lines as the basis for the interim lines is unconstitutional and would require a third version of court drawn lines if the Lege fails to act to correct the problems found by the DC court.

              "Lesbian and gay people are a permanent part of the American workforce, who currently have no protection from the arbitrary abuse of their rights on the job." --Coretta Scott King

              by craigkg on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 03:39:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I should clarify... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Woody, coquiero, bear83

                ...this is for the US House lines. The state Lege lines for the House and Senate are also in contention and covered in the case.

                "Lesbian and gay people are a permanent part of the American workforce, who currently have no protection from the arbitrary abuse of their rights on the job." --Coretta Scott King

                by craigkg on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 03:42:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thank you for the clarification. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  coquiero

                  So, If I understand this correctly, the maps struck down today were another version of the maps struck down by the SCOTUS in January, not another legislature-drawn set of maps... which means, unless the Texas Legislature corrects this, there will be a third set of court-drawn maps in 2013...

                  God, I have a headache.

                  "Let's put the jam on the lower shelf so the little people can reach it." - Ralph Yarborough

                  by Zutroy on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 03:49:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The maps at issue today (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Wordsinthewind, Woody, coquiero

                    were the maps drawn by the Legislature for the US House, Texas House and Texas Senate. The Supreme Court struck down the first version of the court drawn lines, not because the lines themselves were unconstitutional, but because the court redrew the lines based on the existing lines (draw essentially by Tom Delay in 2003) using standard redistricting principles. The Supreme Court said that the district court had to show deference to the Legislature's choices in 2011 in its redrawn maps. These lines were a radical departure from the 2003 lines. The Supreme Court has not heard either case over the lines drawn by the Legislature. It is likely both cases will be consolidated on appeal to the Supreme Court since they found the Legislature drawn lines unconstitutional for different reasons.

                    Here is were things get really complicated because their are two district court cases (I'll abbreviate the SA and DC courts). If the DC court ruling issued today is upheld (regardles sof whether the SA court ruling is upheld), it means the lines drawn by the SA court based on the 2011 Lege drawn lines are unconstitutional and will have to be redrawn by the Lege in 2013 (or if they fail to do so, by a court, but I don't know whether the SA or the DC court would have jurisdiction for that). If the DC court ruling is overturned and the SA case upheld, the current interim lines will remain in affect until he Lege fixes them. If both are struck down or the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is struck down, the lines for 2014 would revert to the Lege drawn lines.

                    The last option is the least likely in my opinion. Texas, with its two loses this year on redistricting has essentially proven that the VRA is still a necessary exercise of Congressional power over the States ability to deny voting power to minorities, a power it is explicitly authorized to use by the 15th Amendment of the US Constitution.

                    Unless #3 happens, we'll see the Lege try again next spring with new lines for Congress, the State House and State Senate.

                    "Lesbian and gay people are a permanent part of the American workforce, who currently have no protection from the arbitrary abuse of their rights on the job." --Coretta Scott King

                    by craigkg on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 04:09:50 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  This is ridiculous (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    txcatlin, coquiero, MKSinSA, bear83

    or process is for the birds. We really need non-partisan redistricting commissions and rules put into place for all states. It's just ludicrous how we allow this to go on and on.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 02:29:24 PM PDT

  •  All these negatives make my brain hurt. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wordsinthewind, coquiero

    Failed to show, were not drawn, without discriminatory...

    I just wish there could be a straightforward - these maps (which maps?) were drawn in a discriminatory fashion and they must be drawn again to meet the standards of the Voting Rights Act.  That's if (and that's a big "if") that's what they meant by this.

    •  it means (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ImpactAv, ColoTim, coquiero, OrangeMike

      the maps enacted by the Lege may not be used. The Lege could decide to leave the interim maps in place or take up the issue again when they meet in 2013. Since the interim maps meet the definition of a perfect compromise-no one got everything they wanted-it is likely the Lege will take up redistricting again next year. The Rs here in Texas are very much of a bully mindset and believe they are entitled to have exactly and only what they think they want.

      "When you're swerving on life's highway you're running someone off the road." Robert Earl Keen

      by Wordsinthewind on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 03:10:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One easy point - why move economically important (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero

      things since they don't vote.

  •  What does this mean " state prosecutors failed to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero

    show Texas lawmakers did not draw congressional and state Senate district maps "without discriminatory purposes." "
    (in English).

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 03:19:36 PM PDT

  •  this quote is priceless (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murphy, Woody, coquiero, bear83, OrangeMike
    We are confident that the mapdrawers can not only draw maps but read them, and the locations of these district offices were not secret.
    as in:  bullshit, guys.  nice try, though.

    I will believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.

    by patchmo13 on Tue Aug 28, 2012 at 03:29:43 PM PDT

  •  Who got screwed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero

    Hispanic leaders thought that since most of the population growth had been Hispanic, they should get 2 or 3 or 4 of the 4 new seats. And since they had been more or less cheated out of an additional Hispanic seat in the redistricting following the 2000 Census, they really thought it was time for them to get at least 3 of the 4 new seats out of the 2010 Census. They didn't get that. They got screwed.

    The Repubs messed with the blacks to make their lives harder, but didn't really cheat them out of a seat, as far as I know. That's because the Repubs are happy when the Democratic Party has a black face. The Repubs know that doesn't help the Democrats very much with Hispanic voters and the Repubs are sure that a black-led Democratic Party is badly hurt with the white ex-Confederate voters that make up their base.

    Of course, Democrats of all and every group got screwed, as usual.

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