Months ago, new Texas congressional maps for the 2018 election seemed like a pie-in-the-sky idea. The federal court looking at a lawsuit against the state’s 2011 map had sat on a ruling for years, and the case had gone unresolved for several election cycles. But thanks to a down-to-the-wire decision last month, attorneys representing plaintiffs in this case say, there’s hope for new districts in time for the next election. Just last year, Gerry Hebert, one of the plaintiff attorneys, said he couldn’t figure out why the U.S. District Court hearing the case was taking so long to reach a decision. “We really have left a lot of the lawyers scratching their heads about what the court is actually doing – if anything – to get this case moving,” he said at the time.
Part of Hebert’s frustration was that the state had been holding elections using an interim map that still had a few of the same problems he saw in the original 2011 map.
Cut to last month, when the court finally weighed in. Two of the three federal judges on the panel sided with Hebert and others who claimed state lawmakers racially discriminated when they drew up the congressional districts. Now, Hebert says he’s hopeful there won’t be yet another election with the old maps.