AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today released the following statement after a three-judge federal district court panel in San Antonio rejected an attempt to require the State of Texas to obtain permission from the U.S. Department of Justice or the courts before any future redistricting legislation took effect:
“This court ruling is a win for our Constitution and the right of Texans to govern themselves,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The plaintiffs’ requests for bail-in were based on plans that were adopted by the Legislature in 2011, never used in any state election, and repealed more than six years ago. We are thankful that today’s decision finally puts an end to this baseless challenge.”
In a 2018 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court found no evidence that the Texas Legislature drew redistricting maps, used during the last three election cycles, with the intent to discriminate against minority voters. The Legislature’s only mistake, the court found, was to be “too solicitous” in changing a Tarrant County House district “at the behest of minority groups” to increase Hispanic voting strength.
Last May, a legal team from Attorney General Paxton’s office told the three-judge panel that the high court’s decision should mean Texas does not have to preclear maps in future redistricting efforts. Plaintiffs in the case asked the court to require the State of Texas obtain permission in order to implement future redistricting legislation.
The plaintiffs’ requests for bail-in are based on plans that were adopted in 2011, but formally repealed and replaced in 2013, when the Legislature largely adopted plans implemented by the district court. In its 2018 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that the Legislature fixed in 2013 any defects that were alleged to exist in the 2011 plans.
View the district court’s decision here.