Paul Clement's To-Do List Just Got Longer As He Tries to Toss Texas's Redistricting Maps

Categories: Politics
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Via.
On Wednesday we got our first look at the new-look Texas maps drawn by the court, which is attempting to rectify the U.S. Department of Justice's concerns that the state Legislature is attempting to keep Hispanics from voting for Hispanic candidates, especially in Dallas-Fort Worth. To which Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott responded last yesterday with a press release warning that Monday morning, he's unleashing Paul Clement on the court's new map with an emergency stay:
At issue is whether the interim maps imposed by a three-judge redistricting 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. Attorney General Greg Abbott explained that a stay of the election process is needed because "elections should not proceed based on legally flawed maps that are likely to be overturned on further review."

Because the legally flawed maps could create confusion for Texans who wish to become candidates when the filing period opens Monday, the State of Texas is pushing quickly to restore clarity to the process. An expeditious decision is necessary so candidates will not needlessly file for office based on boundaries drawn by the interim maps that are likely to be overturned upon further legal review.
Abbott's whole what-for follows, along with the note that he's bring on board Paul Clement, who knows a thing or two about handling appellate matters: He was the U.S. Solicitor General under George W. Bush. More recently, Clement served as the NBA's attorney during its just-wrapping tussle with players -- just one among many high-profile cases on his docket at the moment. As The New York Times noted just a few weeks ago:
If possible, the docket that Mr. Clement has compiled in the private sector as one of Washington's leading appellate litigators may situate him even closer to the center of national discourse.

At the moment, he is defending both Arizona's tough new law against illegal immigration and Congress's prohibition against federal recognition of same-sex marriages. And if, as expected, the Supreme Court soon announces that it will hear a challenge to last year's health care law, it seems increasingly likely that it will be Mr. Clement who argues, in the thick of the 2012 campaign, that President Obama's signature domestic achievement is unconstitutional.
Now, jump for Abbott's sneak peak.
Attorney General Abbott to File Emergency Stay with U.S. Supreme Court Challenging Redistricting Maps Drawn by Federal Judges

Abbott pushes for quick decision ahead of Monday's opening to candidate filing period


AUSTIN--Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott will file an emergency stay application with the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the implementation of legally flawed redistricting maps drawn by a federal panel in San Antonio.

At issue is whether the interim maps imposed by a three-judge redistricting 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.

Attorney General Greg Abbott explained that a stay of the election process is needed because "elections should not proceed based on legally flawed maps that are likely to be overturned on further review."

Because the legally flawed maps could create confusion for Texans who wish to become candidates when the filing period opens Monday, the State of Texas is pushing quickly to restore clarity to the process. An expeditious decision is necessary so candidates will not needlessly file for office based on boundaries drawn by the interim maps that are likely to be overturned upon further legal review.

Why should the State of Texas appeal this case to the United States Supreme Court? Why should the State ask for a stay of the redistricting plan proposed by two of the three judges at the lower court hearing? Why does the State believe it can and should win at the U.S. Supreme Court?

So far, only one appellate judge has considered the redistricting plan passed by the Legislature -- that is Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. He dissented from the interim Texas House of Representatives redistricting plan proposed by the two trial court judges, and provided a detailed analysis as to why the interim House plan was a stark departure from the law. The italics in the following paragraphs are words written by Judge Smith that graphically detail why justice demands the interim House redistricting plan be overturned immediately.

Judge Smith agrees that the interim Texas House of Representatives map proposed by two judges in San Antonio is legally flawed. In particular, he states that the two judge majority opinion "produced a runaway plan that imposes an extreme redistricting scheme for the Texas House of Representatives, untethered to the applicable caselaw." Judge Smith goes on to say that imposing the majority plan "is grave error at the preliminary, interim stage of the redistricting process." Judge Smith concludes that the majority's "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's opinion is filled with points that support the conclusion that the majority's decision is legally unjustifiable and should be overturned on appeal. Following are just a few of those points:

* "[T]he federal courts may not order the creation of majority-minority districts unless necessary to remedy a violation of federal law." The majority opinion violated that tenet.

* "[T]he interim phase is not the time for this court to impose the radical alterations in the Texas political landscape that the majority has now mandated."

* "[T]he majority ventures into other areas of the State and, as though sitting as a mini-legislature, engrafts 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."

* In emphasizing how the majority consistently ignores the law, Judge Smith points out that "the majority's general approach of maximizing the drawing of minority opportunity districts that satisfy the Gingles preconditions was specifically rejected in Johnson v. De Grandy."

* The majority "engages in unconstitutional racial gerrymandering without section 2 as an even colorable legal justification."

* "There is no legal requirement to create coalition districts (and certainly not one like this), even for the Legislature, and it is surely not appropriate for a court that is fashioning only interim relief."

Additionally, General Abbott announced a significant addition to the appellate team that will be representing Texas at the U.S. Supreme Court. Paul Clement -- one of the nation's foremost appellate lawyers and former Solicitor General of the United States -- is assisting the State of Texas with the redistricting challenge. Mr. Clement served as the Solicitor General of the United States from June 2005 until June 2008. In that capacity, he was the chief appellate lawyer for the United States and had primary responsibility for appellate arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court. He has argued over 50 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and has argued more cases since 2000 than any other advocate. A top graduate of Harvard Law School and Supreme Court editor of the Harvard Law Review, Clement currently is a partner at Bancroft PLLC.

Mr. Clement has an established history of working with Texas on appellate matters. He joined Attorney General Abbott in successfully arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court to defend the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas Capitol Grounds. He is currently representing Texas and 25 other states in their legal challenge to ObamaCare that is currently pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.


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12 comments
Guest
Guest

Wasn't ten years ago, though.

The Republicans didn't gain control of the Legislature until 2003, at which point, they decided to redraw the 2001 map eight years ahead of schedule.

Augie
Augie

Greg Abbot is a whore for his party.  This fight is not close.  This is a vast over reach by the R's who see the demographics train barreling down the tracks and eventually costing them their decade long stronghold on ALL STATEWIDE OFFICES.  I always feel compelled to remind everyone about our attorney general who is now one of the tort reform queens.  He will stick his neck out to push for any tort reform that puts it to the killed and seriously injured folks because it is politically expedient for him to do so.  This is the same guy who while jogging in law school in high winds had a tree branch snap and fall on him paralyzing him.  He settled for approximately $10 million.  Now, under laws and/or rulings he supports, he would get ZERO and likely be a burden on this state.  

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Again, you gotta love Abbott, he's cut from the same cloth as Bush The Lesser and Perry The Dim, which is to say a good ol' boy who lacks the marbles in both his head and lower sack to make proper decisions concerning this states future..Instead, he'll cowtow to his interest who make him the most money...

Uncle Scrappy
Uncle Scrappy

No the elected leaders are spending $$$ because the Yellow Bellied demorat judges are once again trying to legislate from the bench. We as a group of citizens of the state of Texas elected the Legislature & they have been entrusted to redraw the Political Boundary map as required every 10 years.

Guess the demorats learned that they couldnt win when they ran away like they have done in the past. So this time, they bought off some federal judges & are trying to get them to legislate from the bench. If they succedd, why even bother with elections. They can just appoint whoever they want. Basically same thing as they are trying to do now.

If the Republican maps are Illegal/Unconstitutional or whatever. Say so & lets hold a trial on the matter. Get everything out in the open instead of this CRAM IT DOWN THE THROATS OF THE ELECTORATE.

Admonkey
Admonkey

So the citizens of Texas are paying for a massive Attorney General's bureaucracy-- over a half a billion dollars in its operating budget and loaded up with six-figure salaries-- to make no mention of the Attorney General himself who, with all his forces, doesn't possess the legal firepower, mental or otherwise, needed to argue cases, and instead Texas taxpayers will be saddled with a multi-million dollar legal bill for outside council to argue the case in their stead.

Greg Abbott is incompetent.

AG Salaries: http://www.texastribune.org/li...

AG Operating Budget: https://www.oag.state.tx.us/AG...

Augie
Augie

Nope, the judges involved are federal and appointed for life.  Historically, that means they think and do what they want, free to stray from the party that appointed them.  In this case, the panel has democrat and Repub appointed judges, so this is no political witch hunt.  Nope, this is a product of HOGS at the legislative trough in Texas. Having held EVERY statewide office in Texas for a decade, Republicant's decided that wasn't enough and redrew the lines. Why? Demographics are a bitch and they point to the NO party losing their stronghold over this state as the Hispanic influence grows and more and more folks from out of state chose to live here. This was as clear an over reach as we've ever seen and yet the Abbot chooses to throw down now.  Why? See the last response after why. 

kasinca
kasinca

Do a little research.  Nobody bought of the thugs in the GOP.  They have shown their hand over the past few redistricting attempts and their voter suppression attempts tells all.  When you accuse someone of a crime like buying off, try to find a case to back up your rightwing BS.

Guest
Guest

I think a bigger question is why George W. Bush appointed so many Yellow-Bellied Democrat judges who will legislate from the bench (and by "legislating from the bench" you mean the kind of legislating that you don't like. My fellow Republicans very often beg for conservative judges to legislate from the bench all the time when the Congress or legislatures produce laws they don't like and then decry the practice when courts make decisions they don't like).

(The three judge panel that overturned the legislature's map consisted of: Thomas Griffith, appointed by GWB, Rosemary Colleyer, appointed by GWB, and Beryl Howell, appointed by Barack Obama).

Admonkey
Admonkey

The three-judge panel that denied pre-clearance to the Texas Legislature-drawn maps was comprised of two George W. Bush appointees and one Barack Obama appointee. (2-1, R; You can read their judgement and summary order here: https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/c...

The three-judge panel that was given the task of redrawing the temporary maps was comprised of one Ronald Reagan appointee, one Bill Clinton appointee and one George W. Bush appointee. (2-1, R.)

Come on-- surely you can come up with a better excuse in your second attempt.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

I would have to guess that the Atty Gen's office doesn't have the fire power for major league fast paced litigation.  But why did they have to get a King & Spaulding Washington DC atty?  Surely the major firms in Dallas and Houston can handle this quite well.

John_McKee
John_McKee

I have heard more than once on conservative radio that Lawrence v. Texas was an overstep of activist judges that should be overturned. In fact it is still a plank of the Texas Republican party. Small government my ass.

Furthermore, the reason we are subject to this kind of oversight in the first places we apparently couldn't stop drawing blatantly discriminatory maps and apparently can't stop. This wouldn't be an issue if the maps were not so overtly discriminatory towards minorities with such a long history of being so that the federal government had to step in.

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