A good part of today’s redistricting hearing in San Antonio centered around the admissibility of three key pieces of evidence that African-American and Hispanic plaintiff groups would like the court to consider – namely, updated ethnicity estimates from the Census Bureau, the results of the 2012 election, and record excerpts from the preclearance case before the D.C. court. The State of Texas said it did not object to consideration of updated demographic and election data as long as use of the data was limited to the drawing of remedial maps.
However, lawyers for the state said that data was irrelevant for other purposes, such as determining whether a district on the maps was an ability-to-elect district, since the data would not have been available to the Texas Legislature in 2011. (Though that position drew a question from the court about whether that, in fact, would be the case if the Legislature enacts new maps in 2013.)
The state objected more strenuously to admission of the record excerpts from the D.C. case if section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is struck down, arguing that the D.C. case would not have application in that instance.