Texas AG pushes to avoid interim redistricting maps

John O'Brien Dec. 6, 2011, 3:31am


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says the federal Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division is delaying preclearance of his state's redistricting maps.

Abbott wrote Tom Perez, an assistant attorney general with the division, on Thursday to express his disapproval of what he says are "dilatory tactics" made in an effort to stall the process of approving new legislative and congressional maps.

This is done so, Abbott says, interim maps are forced on the state.

"I write to request that the DOJ end its attempts to further delay court proceedings in State of Texas v. United States and work proactively with the state of Texas to encourage the District of Columbia District Court to conduct a trial on the merits as soon as possible," Abbott wrote.

Abbott is seeking a declaratory judgment from the court that preclears the redistricting maps. He spoke with Perez 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 has asked the court to delay the trial until after the U.S. Supreme Court has resolved the State's wishes to stay implementation of different interim maps ordered by three federal judges.

Earlier this week, Abbott called the maps "legally flawed." On Monday, candidates began filing for office in Texas.

Elections should not proceed based on "legally flawed maps that are likely to be overturned on further review," Abbott said.

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

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