Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is filing an emergency stay submission with the U.S. Supreme Court to stop a San Antonio court panel that may have surpassed its authority by policymaking to change state political district maps.
Because the 2010 U.S. Census showed Texas gained 4 million more residents since 2000, the state earned four more seats to Congress. But Attorney General Abbott said the San Antonio federal court panel implemented “legally flawed” redistricting maps.
This weekend Abbott’s office announced the state is bringing in Paul Clement, “one of the nation’s foremost appellate lawyers and former Solicitor General of the United States,” to help with the challenge that the court went too far in needlessly dividing communities and forgetting traditional boundaries in the maps.
Abbott says the temporary maps forced by a three-judge panel “violate the U.S. Constitution and federal law, and exceeds the proper role of the judiciary.”
“The State of Texas alleges the panel improperly rejected the will of the elected legislature and redrew the State’s House and Senate districts without regard to any established legal or constitutional principles.”
“Elections should not proceed based on legally flawed maps that are likely to be overturned on further review,” Abbott explained.
Because Federal Judge of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Jerry Smith is the only appellate judge to consider the Texas Legislature’s plan, Abbott is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court and asking for a stay of the two trial judges (Judge Smith dissented from the other two judges) proposed maps.
Judge Jerry Smith offered an analysis indicating the temporary plan of the trial judges was a blatant retreat from the law.
Judge Smith states the two judge’s opinions “produced a runaway plan that imposes an extreme redistricting scheme for the Texas House of Representatives, untethered to the applicable caselaw” and “is grave error at the preliminary, interim stage of the redistricting process.”
Judge Smith said that the temporary “plan is far reaching and extreme. It expands the role of a three-judge interim court well beyond what is legal, practical, or fair.”
Judge smith said this is “not the time for this court to impose the radical alterations in the Texas political landscape that the majority has now mandated.”
The other two trial judges were acting as “though sitting as a mini-legislature, engraft(ing)s its policy preferences statewide despite the fact that no such extreme modifications are required by the case law or by the facts that are before this court at this early stage before preclearance and remedial hearings.”
Clement, who served as the Solicitor General of the United States from June 2005 until June 2008, argued over 50 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, more than any other advocate of the decade.
Texans know Clement for his success with Attorney General Abbott to successfully defend the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas Capitol Grounds before the Supreme Court.
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