Bloomberg News

Interim Texas District Maps Proposed by Federal Judges

November 17, 2011

(Updates with judge’s order in third paragraph.)

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- A panel of federal judges in San Antonio proposed two interim Texas legislative maps to replace district boundaries approved by Governor Rick Perry that the U.S. Justice Department said discriminated against Latinos.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia and U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez, both of San Antonio, jointly posted one proposed voter map on the website of the Texas Legislative Council, which is assisting the court’s redistricting effort. U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry E. Smith of New Orleans, the third member of the panel, posted a different version on the site.

“The parties are ordered to access these proposed plans and file any comments and/or objections’’ by tomorrow at noon, Garcia said in an order today in federal court in San Antonio.

Separate three-judge panels held hearings in Washington and San Antonio on related legal challenges to Texas’s electoral maps. The Washington court on Nov. 8 refused to allow the maps to be used in the next elections, saying the court needed time to explore allegations that they were designed to keep Latinos out of office.

“The State of Texas used an improper standard or methodology to determine which districts afford minority voters the ability to elect their preferred candidates of choice,’’ the panel in Washington ruled.

To avoid a delay in the state’s March primaries, the San Antonio judges created interim maps they said would more fairly reflect the distribution of the state’s increased population. They pushed back the opening of the Texas candidacy filing period to Nov. 28 from Nov. 12 to give candidates time to study the new districts.

The maps released today address only Texas legislative districts, not U.S. congressional districts, which were also challenged as discriminatory.

The Texas case is Perez v. Perry, 5:11-cv-00360, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (San Antonio). The Washington case is Texas v. U.S., 1:11-cv-1303, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

For Related New and Information: Texas politics: {TNI TX POL BN <GO>} Legal headlines: {TLAW <GO>} Bloomberg legal resources: {BLAW <GO>}

--With assistance from Tom Schoenberg in Washington. Editors: Andrew Dunn, Peter Blumberg

To contact the reporter on this story: Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at laurel@calkins.us.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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