If Texas is going to hold primary elections on April 3, the federal courts will have to pick up the pace. A panel of federal judges in Washington, D.C., is deciding whether congressional and legislative district maps drawn by the Legislature last year give proper protection to minority voters under the federal Voting Rights Act.
At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether an interim map drawn by federal judges in San Antonio is legal. In the meanwhile, there are no maps in place for the impending Texas elections.
A panel of federal judges in San Antonio has the job of deciding whether the maps legislators drew last year properly account for population growth and representation, and that court will also finally approve maps to be used for this year’s elections. But since the D.C. judges moved slowly in deciding whether the maps follow the Voting Rights Act, and the election season was almost under way, the San Antonio judges drew interim maps to be used in the meantime.
Instead of starting with the Legislature’s maps, the San Antonio court started with the maps currently in use. As a result, their maps weren’t as strongly Republican as the ones that lawmakers drew.