Almost two years ago, lawyers for Hispanic and black Texans faced off in federal court against the Texas attorney general’s office over the state’s new redistricting maps.
On Wednesday, they were back on familiar ground. Same players. Same court. Same issue.
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Texas’ redistricting saga
Why is the San Antonio court meeting?
The federal judges will determine the next step in the legal saga over Texas’ redistricting, which began in 2011 when the Legislature approved new maps for Congress, the Texas Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. The courts found those maps discriminated against minority voters, and the San Antonio judges drew interim maps that were used last year.
Why is the Legislature in a special session on redistricting?
Gov. Rick Perry called legislators back Monday to approve the interim maps. He wants to end the legal fight over the Legislature’s maps and adopt the interim maps. That way, the districts would be set and candidate filing for the 2014 elections could begin as scheduled Nov. 9.
Why not go ahead and approve the interim maps?
Even though every legislator and member of Congress was elected using those maps, they were a compromise, and many people are unhappy with the congressional and Texas House districts. Democrats, in particular, say they dilute minority voting and don’t reflect the state’s burgeoning Hispanic population over the past decade.
Democrats will fight the interim maps in the Legislature, but the Republican majority could approve them anyway, perhaps within a week to 10 days. Then the San Antonio judges will decide how to proceed.