Speaker Joe Straus and other Republicans went after last week’s proposed interim legislative maps on Monday, blasting the panel of three federal judges for overreaching and subverting what the legislature (and therefore the citizens of Texas) wanted. As usual, Michael Li of the Texas Redistricting blog has all of the reactions gathered in one place.
In a written statement, Straus said that the interim map “goes much further than is necessary,” and he promises he will ask Attorney General Greg Abbott to seek an emergency stay from the U.S. Supreme Court if it is not adjusted back to something “substantially closer” than the original maps. “Members of the Texas House approved a redistricting plan that is fair and that the State’s lawyers have advised us is legal,” the statement also said.
House redistricting committee chairman Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrolton) went further, suggesting that the state would sooner postpone the March 6 primary than allow elections to take place under the proposed interim maps. “We believe that conducting elections under the three-judge panel’s interim lines will cause even more disruption in the 2013 Session and the 2014 elections,” his statement said.
And as our own Paul Burka noted, Rep. Ken Legler (R-Pasadena) sent out a letter to his colleagues that included the dramatic prediction that the Republican Party, which of course currently holds a 101-49 supermajority in the House, “will be the minority in less than six years,” if the judge’s panel sets a precedent (it’s believed the Democrats could pick up half a dozen seats or more under the interim maps).
In a response to Straus, Texas Democratic Party spokesman Anthony Gutierrez said that “every reasonable person who isn’t trying to pander to the Tea Party,” recognizes that the state’s maps violate the Voting Rights Act.