The Road to Put Texas Back under Federal Supervision for Voting Just Got Longer

There are two federal courts considering whether or not Texas should be “bailed back” into preclearance coverage under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. That section lets a court in its discretion put a state under federal supervision for some or all of its voting changes for up to 10 years.

There’s a request pending in the Texas voter id case, which should be heard this summer.

There is also a request in the longrunning Texas redistricting case. Michael Li, at the trial, now reports that bail in won’t be considered until the fall at the earliest, and possibly not until 2018.

That matters.

The voter id case is before a single federal district judge, and a bail in decision would get appealed to the 5th Circuit, where it could face a tough time and possible long, en banc process.

The redistricting case is before a three-judge court, with direct appeal to SCOTUS.  (No 5th Circuit intervention.) I thought this meant the Supreme Court could address bail relatively soon, and before the 2020 redistricting.

But this timeline puts a possible bail in back in time, perhaps for a few years.


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