Texas wants the U.S. Supreme Court to review an order that forces the state to pay more than $1 million in legal fees to groups that challenged the state’s redistricting plans. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in August ordered Texas to pay the fees, finding lawyers for the state essentially forfeited the issue by failing to make substantive arguments in the lower court. On Thursday, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller said in court papers that the state planned to appeal to the Supreme Court. Keller didn’t say when his office would file the petition. A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office was not immediately available for comment. Paul Smith of Jenner & Block, who argued for the challengers in the D.C. Circuit and leads the firm’s appellate and Supreme Court practice, declined to comment.
In the meantime, the state is fighting efforts by the redistricting challengers to collect nearly $200,000 for their work on the fee issue in the D.C. Circuit. In papers filed this week, Keller argued that awarding any new fees “imposes an unconstitutional cost on the state.”
Texas argued that the D.C. Circuit and the lower court judge, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, were wrong to find that the challengers—representing Texas voters, state lawmakers and the Texas Conference of NAACP Branches—were the winning parties in the redistricting case. The challengers did not win, Keller wrote, because the Supreme Court in its 2013 Shelby County decision invalidated the section of the Voting Rights Act that required Texas to get approval for its redistricting plan in the first place.