Redistricting will be done once the two separate federal court cases are finished and the 2012 elections actually take place, right? Think again.
As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram‘s Aman Batheja reported, the Texas Republican Party has put a redistricting proposition on the upcoming—whenever that may be—primary ballot. The proposition, while just a “finger in the wind” for information purposes, reads:
The Texas Legislature should redraw the court-imposed lines for Congress and State legislative districts in its upcoming session in order to remedy inequities. Yes or no.
As Batheja notes, Republicans will also get to express opinions about school choice, public prayer, state spending, and “Obamacare,” while Democratic voters will be queried about casino gambling, higher education funding, and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.
Testimony this week at a federal court in Washington suggested that the state’s Republican majority was willing to go even further if need be: in a June 9th email that was introduced into evidence by lawyers for Democratic state senator Wendy Davis, Texas House redistricting staffer Gerardo Interiano reminded Baker Botts lawyers working for Attorney General Greg Abbott that they could also ask Governor Rick Perry to call a special session for a new round of map-drawing “if we get a really bad panel and have serious concerns about the direction that things are going.
Arguably, the state did get a “bad panel” in the three San Antonio judges who first drew up interim maps, but since the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently intervened, the “direction that things are going” may not be so bad.
As Maria Lucio of the Star-Telegram reported, Amarillo’s state senator Kel Seliger, the chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee, said in his testimony that he had “never” discussed the prospect of a special session.
Read the actual email, which Michael Li posted on his Texas Redistricting blog.