Texas is appealing a district court ruling rejecting the state's redistricting maps. The Attorney General's Office formally filed the appeal to the Supreme Court, Friday.
Among its arguments, the state claims there is no evidence that the state intentionally drew discriminatory maps. Attorney General Greg Abbott accuses the court of relying on circumstantial evidence focused on party affiliation, rather than race. The brief also argues there is "no direct evidence" the Texas legislature was motivated by "a discriminatory purpose."
Under the voting rights act, Texas is required to have any changes to election law precleared by either the Department of Justice, or the district court. Abbott opted to submit the maps directly to the court, rather than the DOJ. The brief filed today also includes a request that the court consider the constitutionality of Section 5 of that act.
The Supreme Court will now have to decide if it will hear the case. In the meantime, interim maps drawn up by a three-judge panel in San Antonio will be used in the November 6 election. If Abbott's appeal is granted, the maps drawn up last session will be used until the next census. If it is denied, the state legislature will take up redistricting once again when the session convenes in January.
Attorney General Abbott released this statement, today:
"The State of Texas is appealing this case because the lower court improperly extended the Voting Rights Act beyond the limits imposed by the Constitution and created new standards that have never been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court. The maps enacted by the Texas Legislature satisfy all necessary legal requirements, so the judges in Washington, D.C. simply created new requirements in an attempt to justify their rejection of Texas' maps. In order to ensure the Texas Legislature's maps apply to the next election cycle, the State is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case and override the lower court's flawed decision during the Court's current term."
Here is the full brief: