It depends upon who you talk to. Attorney General Abbott put out a press release today that strives hard to give the impression that there is a deal: “The proposed maps minimize changes to the redistricting plan passed by the Legislature and, as the U. S. Supreme Court required, makes changes only where necessary. The Texas Attorney General’s Office has worked with a wide range of interest groups to incorporate reasonable requests from all parties to the extent possible without compromising the will of the Texas Legislature. Even though these proposed interim maps aren’t fully supported by all interest groups, modifications have been incorporated based on requests made by all parties. Today’s maps should allow the court to finalize the interim redistricting maps in time to have elections in April,” Attorney General Abbott said. There is an old saying that applies here: Don’t look at what they say. Look at what they don’t say. What “they” — the state — don’t say is that there is a deal. If I may be given license to read between the lines, it seems to me that Abbott has gotten some concessions from one of the plaintiffs’ groups (reportedly MALDEF), but that he does not have a consensus. He has worded the release to make it look as if he has gotten more of an agreement than is the case. A few minutes ago (4:26 p.m.) I interviewed Rick Gray, one of the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs. He told me flatly, “Only one lawyer of ten has signed on with the attorney general’s plan.” Added Gray, concerning Abbott’s purported agreement: “It doesn’t go far enough to address all of the issues raised by the majority of the plaintiff’s groups in the lawsuit.” Today was the Court-imposed deadline for interim maps. Gray told me, “The plaintiffs do not think the state has been willing to address the issues on the House, Senate, and Congressional maps.” Sounds like “no deal” to me. I am indebted to the Quorum Report for its publication of Abbott’s press release.
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