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Texas Senate and Texas House Redistricting

The regular session of the 77th Legislature adjourned on May 28, 2001, without adopting a senate, house, congressional, or State Board of Education redistricting plan. The Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB) convened on June 6 and adopted plans for the state senate (PLAN01188S) and the state house (PLAN01289H) on July 24. The plans were submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

A Travis County state district court considered suits against the LRB's house and senate redistricting plans before deferring to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The DOJ precleared the LRB senate plan on October 15, and on November 28 the federal district court upheld the LRB senate plan.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas also held hearings on various legal challenges to the LRB house redistricting plan on November 13–15. The DOJ denied preclearance of the LRB house plan on November 16, and on November 28 the federal district court put in place a new house district plan (PLAN01369H), which modified the LRB house plan to address the DOJ's objections.

Congressional Redistricting

In December 2000, three legal challenges were filed in Travis County district court regarding congressional redistricting in Texas. The regular session of the 77th Legislature adjourned on May 28, 2001, without adopting a congressional plan, and the governor did not call a special session to consider congressional redistricting. On September 17, 2001, the Travis County district court began hearing the Del Rio v. Perry and Cotera v. Perry congressional cases, and on October 10, the court issued an order adopting new congressional districts (PLAN01089C). This plan was vacated by the Texas Supreme Court on October 19 (Del Rio v. Perry) because the state district court's time had expired, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas began proceedings on the congressional case of Balderas v. State of Texas on October 22. On November 14, the federal district court issued an order adopting congressional districts (PLAN01151C) for the 2002 elections.

The 78th Legislature considered congressional redistricting in its regular session and three subsequent called sessions. On October 12, 2003, in the third called session, the 78th Legislature adopted PLAN01374C. The plan was submitted to the DOJ on October 20, 2003, and was precleared on December 19, 2003.

Following the passage of the legislature's congressional plan, four federal court actions, consolidated as Session v. Perry, were filed in mid-October 2003 seeking relief against the plan. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas heard the case in late December and, on January 6, 2004, upheld the validity of the congressional plan enacted by the Texas Legislature. The plaintiffs appealed the federal district court's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On October 18, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court remanded Session v. Perry involving the Texas congressional plan to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas for further consideration in light of the June 2004 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Vieth v. Jubelirer, a partisan gerrymandering case from Pennsylvania. The district court heard oral arguments on January 21, 2005, and on January 25 issued a decision in the remand of Session v. Perry adhering to the court's earlier judgment that there was no basis to declare the plan invalid. On December 12, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court set the 2003 challenge to Texas' redrawing of congressional districts (now styled as LULAC v. Perry) for oral argument before the Court. Argument was heard on March 6, 2006, and on June 28, the Court issued a decision finding that the district court's judgment was partly correct and partly in error, and returned the case to the district court for further action. The U.S. Supreme Court found that Congressional District 23 violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and that the creation of a new District 25 did not remedy the problem.

On August 4, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued an opinion in the remanded LULAC v. Perry case ordering changes to five congressional districts (PLAN01438C) to address the Voting Rights Act violation. Special elections for these five districts were held concurrent with the November 2006 general election. The five court-ordered districts from PLAN01438C were incorporated into the legislature's 2003 plan (PLAN01374C) to create a statewide plan, PLAN01440C.

State Board of Education Redistricting

The regular session of the 77th Legislature adjourned on May 28, 2001, without adopting a State Board of Education (SBOE) redistricting plan. Legal challenges were filed against the old SBOE districts, and on November 2, 2001, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued an order adopting new SBOE districts based on the 2000 federal census (PLAN01018E) for the 2002 elections.

The Texas Legislative Council, a nonpartisan legislative service agency, provides technical and legal support to the Texas legislature for redistricting.