'No Compromise' on Gerrymandering Travis

State refusing to back down on shattering Travis

State of Texas:
State of Texas: "Cannot compromise" on CD-25

In the latest twist in redistricting, the State of Texas has said it is nearing a deal on Congressional maps, but there's one big issue. They refuse to back down on the vicious gerrymandering of Travis County and in particular Lloyd Doggett's seat, Congressional District 25.

With the next hearing scheduled to start in San Antonio on Valentine's Day, all the parties in the suit are wrangling over deals. In their advisory filed today, lawyers representing the state of Texas say that negotiations are still ongoing for the Texas House and Senate maps, but there is no consensus yet. However, they say there are only three Congressional districts on Plan C226 (the amended interim map drafted by Senate Redistricting Committee Chair Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo) that remain up for discussion: CD-23 (covering much of West Texas), CD-25 (part of the insane fragmentation of Travis County), and CD-33 (part of the equally insane fragmentation of Tarrant County).

The state says it can reach an agreement readily on CD-23 and CD-33, but, in their words, CD-25 "is not a protected district as the Department of Justice recognized, and to the extent it is even a coalition district, which in the state's view it is not, it cannot be drawn based on the Supreme Court's opinion."

This is, of course, a completely different CD-25 to Doggett's old CD-25. Where that ran from South-East Travis out to Colorado County, the new CD-25 runs from Hays through Western Travis to up north to Johnson. But any tweak would inevitably have an impact on the surrounding and nearby seats, including the new-look CD-10 (in which Democrat Dan Grant plans to challenge GOP incumbent Mike McCaul), and the super-twisted new CD-35 (intended to force Doggett into a primary with San Antonio state rep Joaquin Castro.)

Here's where the rubber hits the road: "The State cannot compromise in this district and that may prevent a global compromise on the congressional map."

Unfortunately for the state, the plaintiffs are just as unwilling to bend. In their response, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus et al say that CD-25 is a crossover district. That means that while it is not a 50% minority district, the minority coalition population is large enough to elect the candidate of its choice with the support of the majority population. In this case, the Hispanic-African-American electorate, supported by the white population, picks the candidate supported by the majority of minority voters.

Firing back at the state, the plaintiffs write that "there is no evidence in the record that Hispanics and Blacks are not cohesive in the core portion of the CD25 district." They also argue that the state is trying to "scoot quietly by" the possible violations of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act by claiming that coalition and crossover districts "receive no statutory recognition." The court has already rejected the state's argument that coalition and crossover districts are legally insignificant, and for them to keep making this case is "incomprehensible."

Their argument remains the same: The San Antonio panel should wait until the DC district court has issued its Section 5 ruling, due later this month.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Redistricting, Gerrymandering, 2012 Primaries, Lloyd Doggett, Greg Abbott, Mexican American Legislative Caucus, MALC, MALDEF

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