Let me see if I understand this. First, Abbott wants to avoid submitting the Texas redistricting maps for preclearance at the Department of Justice. He tells everybody that he has figured out how to bypass the DOJ by going to the D.C. Circuit and moving for summary judgment from Republican-friendly judges. Then, to quote a certain prominent presidential candidate, “Oops!” The D.C. court denies summary judgment and orders a three-judge panel for the Western District of Texas to draw the maps. But the panel’s state House and Senate maps aren’t as GOP-friendly as the maps drawn by the Lege. All of a sudden Abbott’s strategy doesn’t look quite so clever, and legislators, particularly in the House, are screaming bloody murder. So what does Abbott do? Having previously bypassed the DOJ, which could have gone through its preclearance routine by now had Abbott submitted the state’s maps in a timely fashion, he criticizes the DOJ for “dragging its feet” in the approval of the original maps. Not surprisingly, the DOJ has returned fire and placed the blame squarely on Abbott, referring to the state’s “inexplicable litigation decisions.” It seems clear to me that Abbott tried to have his cake and eat it too. Well, he’s going to end up eating something all right, but I don’t think it’s going to be cake.
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