***FOR PRINT *** U.S. SC issues stay on interim Texas redistricting maps

John O'Brien Dec. 12, 2011, 4:56am


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Supreme Court has granted Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's request to stay an interim redistricting plan created by three federal judges.

The court's decision means elections for the Texas Legislature and Texas seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will not be conducted without a further review of the interim plan by the high court. Abbott says the interim plans disregard the will of the state Legislature because no court has found that the maps drawn by it violate any law.

Oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled for Jan. 9.

"The Texas Attorney General's Office is committed to protecting the integrity of Texas' elections by ensuring they are conducted based on legally constructed redistricting maps and the Supreme Court's decision (Friday) is an important step in that direction," Abbott said.

Abbott is seeking a declaratory judgment from the court that preclears the redistricting maps drawn by the Texas Legislature. He spoke with Tom Perez, an assistant attorney general with the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, on July 19 about conducting the litigation in a productive manner.

Abbott says the Civil Rights Division opposed a motion to expedite the process and has demanded extensive discovery that caused further delays.

He added that he has sought a December trial to ensure the state can conduct its primary elections in March, but the CRD had asked the court to delay the trial until after the U.S. Supreme Court had resolved the State's wishes to stay implementation of the interim maps.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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