Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Monday, August 20, 2001


State Of Texas Responds To Court Deadline in Congressional Redistricting Lawsuits

AUSTIN - Today is the deadline for plaintiffs and defendants named in four congressional redistricting lawsuits --- two in Harris County and two in Travis County --- who want to submit proposed congressional maps to the courts.

The Office of the Attorney General will submit by 5 p.m. today a congressional redistricting proposal on behalf of the State of Texas.

The courts will use the proposed maps as a starting point from which new congressional district boundaries in Texas will be drawn.

Because lawmakers from the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate failed to agree on a plan redrawing federal congressional district boundaries for the coming decade, a court --- not the executive or legislative branches --- will ultimately draw the State's congressional redistricting map.

Eleven congressional redistricting lawsuits suing various state and political officials have been filed. Four of those 11 lawsuits resulted in the court order mandating the plaintiffs and defendants to submit proposed congressional maps for judicial consideration today.

Ultimately, the 11 congressional redistricting lawsuits --- in addition to any others filed on a future date --- most likely will be consolidated into a single suit. A court will have to choose one of the proposed plans or a court-drawn plan as the final congressional redistricting plan.

The first case in Austin (Cause No. 003665) is styled Alicia Del Rio, Phyllis Dunham and Jeremy Wright v. Rick Perry, The second case in Austin (Cause No. 101660) is styled Martha Cotera v. Rick Perry, These two cases have been consolidated into one before Travis County District Judge Paul Davis.

The first case in Houston (Cause No. 2001-26894) is styled Associated Republicans of Texas, v. Cuellar, The second case in Houston (Cause No. 2001-33760) is styled Rivas v. Cuellar, These two cases have been consolidated into one before Harris County District Judge Jane Bland.

Among other defendants named in at least one of the suits are Lieutenant Governor Bill Ratliff; Texas Speaker of the House Pete Laney; Texas Democratic Party Chairwoman Molly Beth Malcolm; Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Susan Weddington. In addition, a number of intervenors have also filed to be a party to the suits.

As a result of the 2000 Census, Texas now is entitled to 32 congressional seats, an increase of two. The ideal average congressional district has 651,219 residents. In the State of Texas' plan, the smallest district of the 32 districts has a population of 651,219 and the largest has a population of 651,620.

The State of Texas' plan proposes 32 new fair and compact districts, some of which have been assigned new numbers. The plan adds a Hispanic-majority seat in Dallas (District 32), an African American seat in Harris County (District 25), an open seat in Central Texas (District 10), and an open seat in Southeast Texas (District 24). No incumbent congresspersons are paired.

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Media note: Map copies should be available by tomorrow.

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