Readers may remember that, almost exactly two years ago, Texas decided to seek preclearance for its redistricting plans — including the state Senate plan — in a DC federal court, rather than submitting the plans to the Department of Justice. The DOJ announced that it had no objections to the Senate plan, which meant that if Texas hadn’t gone straight to court, its Senate maps would have been presumptively legal.
By the time the plan got to court, though, Senator Wendy Davis — the same Senator Davis who brought filibuster madness to Austin just last week — had intervened, claiming that the dismantling of the district she represented should block preclearance. The DC court agreed. And in an effort to cobble some plan together in time for the 2012 election, a San Antonio federal court adopted interim maps that amounted to a compromise between Senator Davis and the State.
On Wednesday, Governor Perry signed new redistricting maps into law, including a state Senate plan modeled largely after the federal court’s interim plan above and preserving Davis’s district. The next day, Senator Davis filed an advisory with the federal court, noting that she did not plan to lodge further substantive protests to the new plan.
And so, two years after it began, the dispute over the Texas Senate plan is winding down — at least, that is, until Texas decides to re-re-redraw the maps. Meanwhile, litigation over the congressional and state House plans is still plenty active.