Paxton lauds ruling against preclearance for redistricting maps
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded a federal court ruling allowing the state to proceed with redistricting legislation without asking the federal government’s permission. The July 24 ruling by a three-judge federal court rejected plaintiffs’ petition to require the state to obtain permission from the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court before redistricting legislation could take effect. After the San Antonio-based panel ruled on the ongoing voting rights case, Perez v. Abbott, Paxton said, “This court ruling is a win for our Constitution and the right of Texans to govern themselves.” Paxton called the plaintiffs’ request for “bail-in” — that is, requiring proposed changes to voting laws and redistricting plans to be “precleared” by the Department of Justice — a “baseless challenge.” The plaintiffs originally brought suit over redistricting plans Texas lawmakers adopted in 2011, claiming that plans were passed by the Republican-dominated Legislature to dilute the voting power of minorities. The Legislature repealed those plans in 2013 and adopted largely court-drawn plans. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 confirmed that the Legislature in 2013 fixed defects plaintiffs alleged to have existed in the 2011 plans. Furthermore, notably, the high court in June ruled 5-4 that federal courts have no oversight role when redistricting lines are drawn to favor a political party.
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