Texas Primary Elections Likely to be in March & May After Supreme Court Stops Unconstitutional Court Drawn Redistricting Maps
by David Bellow on December 10, 2011 at 10:36 AM
Update: Federal Court has Ordered the Texas Republican Primary election to be on just one date on April 3rd, 2012. Click Here to read more
Also, at the bottom of this article you can read an Excellent, In-Depth Explanation of the Supreme Court Stay sent to me from State Senator Robert Nichols
The US Supreme Court has granted a stay requested by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Governor Rick Perry along with other state officials. The stay blocks Texas from using the maps drawn by the lower Federal Court in San Antonio, TX. This Federal Court re-drew the maps for Texas in response to race based lawsuits from Liberal Democrat groups who cannot get the people to vote for them so they try to get into office via Activist Judges.
This Stay is GREAT news for Texas. The Constitution of the United States should just be thrown in the trash if 2 judges in San Antonio are able to draw the voting maps for the entire State of Texas. The United States Constitution says that the ELECTED Representatives in the State Legislature of Texas are the people who are supposed to draw the new voting maps. The court drawn maps represented the greatest attack against Texas and The Constitution since, well, since I can ever remember. Two unelected judges should not and cannot draw the maps for Texas. That is NOT their job nor do they have the authority to do it. The Supreme Court has taken the extraordinary step of granting a Stay to stop the court drawn maps. This shows that the Supreme Court believes there are serious problems with what is going on.
These court drawn maps not only went against the Constitution and the Sovereignty of Texas, but they also were illegal in many ways. The lines in the court drawn maps irresponsibly cut through communities and discriminatorily used race as the sole basis of where the lines were drawn. The court drawn maps created districts that had significant differences in population therefore creating districts where one person’s vote in one district was stronger than one person’s vote in another district.
So What Does This Mean for Texas Elections?
Texas Will Likely Have TWO Primary Elections in 2012. One in March and One in May
It is not official that Texas will have two primary elections in 2012, but I am positive that this will happen. The Court Drawn Maps being fought in court only involve the Texas Congressional, State Senate, and State Representative maps. The Supreme Court will not be hearing arguments on these Redistricting Maps until January 9th, 2012. This makes it impossible for these three Primary Races to be held in March. The Congressional, State Rep, and State Senate Primary Elections will likely be pushed back until May so that those maps can be figured out in a Supreme Court Battle. The most likely date in May will be May 22nd 2012. May 22nd is already scheduled as the Texas Primary Election Runoff date so the State is already prepared to do a Primary Election on that date. It is a couple weeks after the Texas Local Elections in May so the Local elections will get a boost in publicity, but there will not be a shortage of voting machines because of the 2 week difference in these May Elections
All the other Primary Elections will still be able to be held in March. This includes all the other Primary races like the Presidential Primary election, US Senate, state wide positions like Railroad Commissioner, State Board of Education, and the County level Primary Elections.
All Candidates running for Congress, State Representative and State Senate should just hold tight and wait until the Supreme Court makes a ruling because we will not know how these districts will look yet. All voters should also hold tight because you do not know what district you will be in until after this is resolved.
All other Primary races are still a GO for March so let’s all not lose focus on the March elections because there are very important races like President and US Senate. You know, having two primary election dates this year might be a good thing. There are so many important political races that it is hard to know who is running for what. Splitting up the races into two different elections might be better than having just one big overwhelming ballot. Plus, the local races in the May election will see possibly the biggest turnout in all of history because of the addition of the Congressional, State Rep, and State Senate Primary Elections so close to the local elections. So if you think you will be able to just fly under the radar running for School Board in May or trying to pass a tax increasing bond in May, think again! The typically low turnout May election will have a HUGE turnout and these local elections will see a record number of voters and will garner more publicity and community interest because of the primary elections tha will also me in May.
In a statement sent in to me by e-mail, State Senator Robert Nichols gives an in-depth explanation of a Supreme Court Stay (Senator Nichols did not write this, he did send it to me and it is unknown who wrote the explanation):
Texas election maps blocked, for now...
The Supreme Court, working late on a Friday, agreed to rule on the constitutionality of three redistricting plans for the two houses of the Texas legislature and its 36-member U.S. House of Representatives delegation, and put on hold temporarily a U.S. District Court’s interim maps. The Court ordered expedited briefing, and set a hearing on the cases forJan. 9 at 1 p.m. The Justices’ action gave Texas much of what its lawyers had sought in their challenge to the three-judge trial court’s temporary maps, which were to be used for the 2012 election cycle. The Court’s order is here. It raises the strong possibility of a major new ruling on the power of federal judges to draw up redistricting plans while a state legislature’s own maps are under challenge in court.
Although the state had initially sought only a stay of the temporary redistricting plans, it suggested as an alternative that the Court take on the cases itself, and issue a prompt ruling. That is what the Justices agreed to do, putting the cases on its docket for review as 11-713 (the Texas state house case), 11-714 (the Texas state senate case), and 11-715 (the congressional delegation case). What the Court did not do was order any immediate change in the way Texas candidates go about signing up to run in the 2012 primary, now set forMarch 6. Cases 11-713 and 11-715 go by the same title, Perry, et al., v. Perez, et al., and case 11-714 is titled Perry, et al., v. Davis, et al.
Candidates began filing for seats in the legislature and in the House of Representatives on Nov. 28, and the filing period now in effect was to continue until Dec. 15. Friday’s order made no immediate change in that. It was unclear whether the filing period is now to be interrupted until after the cases are decided, and, if not, what districts would actually be used for purposes of candidates’ filing in the meantime. The three maps drawn by the state legislature earlier this year supposedly cannot be used, because their validity under federal voting rights law and the Constitution is now under review by a different U.S. District Court, in Washington. And the interim districts crafted by the District Court in San Antonio cannot be used because they are now stayed by the Justices’ order.
The Court set this briefing schedule: it consolidated the cases, ordered Texas officials and the challengers to the legislature’s maps to file opening briefs simultaneously on Dec. 21. Reply briefs from both sides are due Jan. 3. The oral argument on Jan. 9 will be for one hour only.
Stay applications such as the ones that put these cases before the Court are usually only for temporary remedies, and, most often, seek simply to maintain the status quo while the underlying decision at issue is reviewed. The Court, this time, converted the applications into what it calls “jurisdictional statements,” which is the label it uses for cases that are appealed directly to the Justices from a three-judge District Court. Federal law provides that challenges to redistricting cases are to be heard initially by three-judge District Courts, with direct appeals to the Supreme Court, bypassing the usual transit through a federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
By granting review, the Court, of course, gave no indication of how it would rule on the constitutionality of the District Court’s interim plans. But the Court appeared to have taken seriously and heard perhaps somewhat sympathetically the Texas lawyers’ argument that a 1982 Supreme Court precedent — Upham, et al., v. Seamon, et al. — strictly limits the power of a federal court to craft its own interim redistricting plan that deviates greatly from one drafted by a state legislature. In the San Antonio District Court, the dissenting judge in the 2-1 rulings at issue had argued that the Upham decision barred a court-ordered map that strayed so far from what the state legislature had drawn.
Because the three cases reached the Justices as stay applications, they did not spell out specifically the legal or constitutional questions being laid before the Court. But it does appear, at least at this stage, that the Court will only be ruling on the validity of the San Antonio court’s decision to draw up interim maps of its own. No lower court has yet ruled on the underlying question of whether any of the districts — for the legislature or for the House delegation — actually violate federal law or the Constitution.
Because the issue of federal courts’ power to craft interim redistricting plans usually arises only after each ten-year federal Census, there are not a great many precedents on how wide that judicial authority reaches. The state said in one of its applications that the drafting of a court’s interim plan may occur only infrequently, but “even once in a decade is too frequent for states to sacrifice their sovereignty in this way or for courts to be put in the untenable position of drawing political lines from scratch.”
While Friday’s order seems to put a hold on further proceedings in the San Antonio court’s review of the Texas legislature’s three maps, there was nothing in the order that would appear to have any effect on the continuing review of the validity of those plans by the District Court sitting in Washington. The Justice Department is taking part in the Washington case, and is making significant challenges there to the maps the legislature drew for the Texas house and for the House of Representatives delegations. Those maps, as well as the one for the Texas state senate, are also under broad challenge by minority and civil rights groups.