Federal panel allows civil rights groups to sue Texas over “court approved interim maps” for dilution and discrimination

The Texas Legislature cannot catch a break.  A three judge panel out of San Antonio ruled on a motion to dismiss the “never ending” redistricting litigation; allowing a lawsuit to continue against the 2013 redistricting maps approved by the Texas Legislature that were, in fact, identical to court-approved interim maps.  Those interim maps were developed after guidance from the Supreme Court, input from the parties of lawsuit and approved by the court itself.  Yet the court will now allow the plaintiff’s to continue to challenge those court-approved maps on dilution and discrimination grounds. The court is allowing the civil rights groups to make the argument and gather evidence that Texas legislators may have been discriminating against minority groups when they simply voted to adopt court-approved maps.  To get any justice, Texas will need to appeal each and every ruling of this panel.

Court excerpt:
With regard to those elements of the 2011 plans that remained unchanged and remained challenged in the interim plans, when the Legislature adopted the Court’s interim plans it engaged in the same conduct or incorporated the identical portions of the 2011 plans alleged to be illegal into the 2013 plans. In addition, the Task Force Plaintiffs complain that the Legislature engaged in similar vote dilution conduct with regard to HD 90 in the 2013 session. Thus, there is evidence that the Legislature has already engaged in both identical and substantially similar conduct, making this case more like Aladdin’s Castle and Associated General Contractors. The fact that the State asserts that it believed the interim maps to be free from legal defect when it enacted them in 2013 goes to the merits of the controversy, not to whether a controversy remains to be decided.