Redistricting Update XI: It Is All Up To The Courts
The fate of the redistricting maps now rests solely with the three-judge panel in San Antonio. As of the time of this update, a global agreement between all parties has not been reached relative to the Texas House and Texas Congressional districts. Therefore, the final decisions as to where the lines will be are in the hands of the three-judge panel. The panel set deadlines for parties to submit final briefs on various issues and that deadline has now passed. This now means that all the arguments are over and all we are waiting for now is for the Court to rule.
If the Court issues maps on or before March 3rd, then the May 29th primary date can be accomplished - assuming a re-opened filing period can be accomplished within a few days. If the Court issues new maps after March 3rd, then the next and final available primary date would be June 26th. To accomplish a June 26th primary, maps would still need to be issued by March 30th to meet the June 26th date.
There is a possibility that the San Antonio three-judge panel (which handles Section 2 challenges of the Voting Rights Act) will wait to see what the Washington D.C. three-judge panel (who handles Section 5 challenges of the Voting Rights Act) rules, and that subsequently, the San Antonio panel incorporates the D.C. panel’s findings into new maps. The D.C. panel indicated that it would not rule prior to March. Consequently, if the San Antonio panel is waiting on the D.C. panel, a May 29th primary could only be accomplished if the D.C. panel rules at the very start of March and the rulings can be incorporated into alterations of the maps within a few days. Otherwise, only the June 26th primary date is an option.
If the San Antonio three-judge panel does not view it as a necessity to wait on the Washington D.C. panel, then we would expect to get new maps any day now.
As instructed by the San Antonio three-judge panel last week, the RPT’s attorneys have been in contact with the Texas Democratic Party's attorneys to negotiate over proposed deadlines relative to a May 29th Primary Election and we are proceeding to plan as if we will have a May 29th Primary. RPT will provide you notice of any rulings as soon as practical.