Yesterday we gave you the heads-up: Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has brought in former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement to try to throw out what they claim are the federal court's "unlawful redistricting maps." And, right on cue, they've filed their emergency stays with the U.S. Supreme Court: All four docs filed with the court are now posted to the A.G.'s website, along with Abbott's insistence that it's "judicial activism at its worst for judges to draw redistricting maps of their own choosing despite no finding of wrongdoing by the State of Texas."
The biggest issue they appear to have is with U.S. District Judges Orlando Garcia and Xavier Rodriguez's interim House map, which Clement claims "is entirely a judicial creation with no regard for the lines drawn through the political process." Which is interesting, because even Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith -- the third federal judge tasked with reviewing the maps -- noted in his dissent last week that "the Legislature created substantial population disparities in Dallas and Harris Counties in a manner that may raise concerns of racial or partisan gerrymandering in violation of Larios v. Cox." Smith, incidentally, was also critical of Garcia and Rodriguez's newly created District 107, a "a new coalition minority opportunity district" in Dallas County:
Even leaving aside the question whether courts can ever mandate minority "coalition" districts, the majority seems to draw this district merely because it can be drawn. But no such district is required under section 2, and the State's plan creates no retrogression under section 5. Thus, the majority's meddlings in Dallas County stem solely from the majority's policy preferences, which are not an appropriate justification for judicial action.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
In his Senate stay, Clement writes that "the three-judge court's interim order as to the Senate map is less sweeping than the court's wholesale redrawing of the House map, but it suffers from the same fatal flaw: a willingness to redraw an election map without a finding of any substantial likelihood of a statutory or constitutional violation."