March 11, 2017

Feds another non-ruling "ruling" against Texas on voting rights

Texas' racially-driven gerrymandering of Congressional districts has been in the federal court system for about five years now.

Friday, a three-judge panel of federal district judges, on a 2-1 split, made another ruling that confirms previous ones. It's clearly the correct decision, just as much as it's clear how much Will Hurd's 23rd District is gerrymandered, as further detailed here. Some Texas Democrats are hoping that the latest ruling will wind up putting Texas under preclearance stipulations that existed before the Supreme Court gutted them in 2013.

More here from Rick Hasen.

Not likely on that preclearance issue. Nothing's changing on the court since then, other than Gorsuch presumably replacing Scalia.

See, first of all, that panel of judges ordered no specific remedies. Second, their ruling came at the end of business on Friday — the same Friday that's the deadline for filing bills in the Texas Legislature session.

Over all the time the judges have dealt with redistricting, I cannot believe they're ignorant of the Lege's bills calendar, nor can I believe the two judges in the majority are ignorant of Texas AG Ken Paxton and minions — and before him, AG Greg Abbott and minions — attempting to run out various clocks whenever possible.

Hasen has an updated, in-depth analysis. He may be right that this will indeed lead to new maps for the 2018 midterms. But, really, I kind of doubt it. And, I'm less optimistic than him about a court imposing "bail-in" preclearance. For more on why I doubt this will happen before 2021, read this piece about the anti-immigrant and anti-minority troika of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, White House Counsel Steve Bannon and henchman Stephen Miller, formerly of Sessions' Senate staff. At least Hasen has the proper degree of skepticism about Sessions actually enforcing any pre-2021 preclearance.

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