Well, if there were any doubts before, they're gone now.
Federal judges in San Antonio will draw the legislative and congressional maps that Texas will use for the 2012 election cycle.
That became clear this morning when a three-judge panel in Washington denied a request by the State of Texas for a judgment that the Legislature's state house, state senate, and congressional maps should be precleared (approved) under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Preclearance had been strongly opposed by the Justice Department and by State Senator Wendy Davis, MALC, the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force, NAACP, and other groups.
The court's order stated:
Having carefully considered the entire record and the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes that the State of Texas used an improper standard or methodology to determine which districts afford minority voters the ability to elect their preferred candidates of choice and that there are material issues of fact in dispute that prevent this Court from entering declaratory judgment that the three redistricting plans meet the requirements of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
The court said that a memorandum opinion further explaining its ruling would be forthcoming, but that the court wanted to issue its ruling promptly so that the court in San Antonio could draw a substitute interim plan for the 2012 election cycle.
The San Antonio court completed hearings last week on temporary maps and is expected to issue maps this week or next week.
Here's a copy of the order denying summary judgment: