The state of Texas is in the midst of an extraordinary losing streak in federal courts over the way it conducts elections. It is hoping the Supreme Court will come to the rescue. In the past couple of weeks, federal judges in four separate cases ruled that the Texas Legislature discriminated against minorities in drawing congressional and legislative districts, setting ID requirements for voters and even regulating who can assist voters for whom English is not their first language. Two courts are considering whether the actions intended to discourage African American and Hispanic voters. If the courts find that the efforts were intentional, it could return Texas to the kind of federal oversight from which the Supreme Court freed it and other mostly Southern states in the landmark 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder.
As the decisions piled up, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) issued a string of statements denouncing the rulings, calling them “outrageous” and “astonishing.”
On Friday afternoon, he went to the Supreme Court for emergency relief rather than comply with a ruling that the state should call a special legislative session to draw new electoral districts in time for the 2018 elections.