(CN) – Federal judges dealt a blow to proponents of Texas’ heavily contested redistricting plans, putting the brakes on a map that many allege favors Republicans and dilutes minority votes.
While the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas faces an influx of actions opposing the plans, the state filed suit in Washington, D.C., against the United States and Attorney General Eric Holder. The complaint, which requested consideration from a three-judge panel, wanted the court to green-light Texas’ four redistricting plans as compliant with the Voting Rights Act.
Though the court already cleared the Texas State Board of Education’s redistricting plan for immediate implementation on Sept. 22, the remaining three plans affect redistricting for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas State Senate.
A three-judge panel rejected the state’s motion for summary judgment on Tuesday.
In its two-page order, the panel found “that the state of Texas used an improper standard or methodology to determine which districts afford minority voters the ability to elect their preferred candidates of choice and that there are material issues of fact in dispute that prevent this court from entering declaratory judgment that the three redistricting plans meet the requirements of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.”
The panel consisted of D.C. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer and U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell.
A memorandum opinion regarding Tuesday’s order from the panel is pending.
The Western District of Texas has through November to come up with substitute interim plans for the 2012 election cycle.