On September 6, the 3-judge U.S. District Court in San Antonio ruled that the Texas redistricting lawsuit is so complicated, it cannot be resolved in time for the 2014 elections. Therefore, the court ruled, the interim districts the court had drawn in 2012 will be used again in 2014. The case is Perez v State of Texas, western district, 5:11cv-360. The case will continue and the ultimate results will affect the 2016-2020 elections.
The issue involves the U.S. House and State House district boundaries. The case was filed in 2011. The State Senate districts are not contested. This case has great importance beyond just settling the district boundaries. This case will probably decide if the little-used Section 3 of the federal Voting Rights Act can be applied to Texas. Section 3 says that states with a pattern of discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities must get permission from the Voting Rights Section of the U.S. Justice Department before changing election laws. This provision has renewed importance, now that section 4 of the Voting Rights Act has been invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court. Section 4 is the formula that determines which states and other jurisdictions must ask for permission before changing election laws, but since it is invalid, the only states and other jurisdictions that are still are entangled with pre-clearance are the places found in violation of Section 3.