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Texas Senate Redistricting

82nd Legislative Session

The 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, passed a senate redistricting plan (PlanS148) in May 2011, which was signed by the governor.

Texas v. United States – Preclearance Lawsuit

The Texas attorney general petitioned the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a declaratory judgment under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (Texas v. United States) validating the legislatively enacted state senate plan (PlanS148) in July 2011.  The D.C. district court heard the case in January 2012 and issued an opinion denying Texas preclearance in August 2012.  The state appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.  In summer 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the coverage formula used to determine which states and local governments fall under the preclearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional (Shelby County v. Holder).  The court then vacated the D.C. district court's judgment denying preclearance of the legislatively enacted senate plan and sent the case back for further consideration in light of the Shelby County ruling.  The D.C. district court found that Texas' claims were mooted by Shelby County and filed a memorandum and order to dismiss Texas' claims in December 2013.

Davis v. Perry – Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution Lawsuit

In September 2011, plaintiffs filed Davis v. Perry in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, alleging that the plan enacted by the legislature (PlanS148) diluted minority voting strength in the Dallas and Tarrant County area and violated the one person, one vote rule.  The San Antonio court ordered an interim state senate plan (PlanS164) in November 2011.  The state requested a stay on the use of the interim plan, which the U.S. Supreme Court granted in December.  After hearing Davis v. Perry in January 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the district court's order implementing an interim plan and remanded the case for further proceedings.  In February 2012, the San Antonio court ordered a new interim state senate plan (PlanS172) for the 2012 elections. 

83rd Legislative Session

In June 2013, the 83rd Legislature, 1st Called Session, passed S.B. 2 adopting the court-ordered interim senate plan (PlanS172) as the permanent senate plan.  Plaintiffs and the state advised the San Antonio court that all parties in the federal case agreed to the newly enacted legislative plan as the final remedial senate plan, and the court entered a final judgment on the state senate map in September 2013.

Evenwel v. Perry – 14th Amendment Challenge

In April 2014, the Project on Fair Representation filed Evenwel v. Perry, challenging Texas Senate Districts 1 and 4 under the redistricting plan enacted by the legislature (PlanS172).  The lawsuit sought to enjoin Texas from conducting further state senate elections under the plan and asked the court to require the legislature to reapportion the senate districts to conform to the one person, one vote clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  The suit argued that Texas' state senate districts must be drawn with approximately equal numbers of eligible voters in addition to approximately equal total population.  Oral arguments were presented before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, in June 2014.  The court issued an opinion in November 2014, dismissing the plaintiffs' challenge.

Texas House Redistricting

82nd Legislative Session

The 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, passed a house redistricting plan (PlanH283) in May 2011, which was signed by the governor.

Texas v. United States –Preclearance Lawsuit

The Texas attorney general petitioned the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a declaratory judgment under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (Texas v. United States) validating the legislatively enacted state house plan (PlanH283) in July 2011.  The D.C. district court heard the case in January 2012 and, in August, issued an opinion denying Texas preclearance.  The state appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.  In summer 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the coverage formula used to determine which states and local governments fall under the preclearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional (Shelby County v. Holder).  The court then vacated the D.C. district court's judgment denying preclearance of the legislatively enacted house plan and sent the case back for further consideration in light of the Shelby County ruling.  The D.C. district court found that Texas' claims were mooted by Shelby County and filed a memorandum and order to dismiss Texas' claims in December 2013.

Perez v. Perry – Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution Lawsuit

In September 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, started hearings on the consolidated federal lawsuits in Perez v. Perry and ordered an interim state house plan (PlanH302) in November.  The U.S. Supreme Court granted the state's request for a stay on the use of the interim state house plan and, after hearing the case in January 2012, vacated the San Antonio court's order implementing the interim plan and remanded the case for further proceedings.  In February, the San Antonio court ordered a new interim state house plan (PlanH309) for the 2012 elections. 

In September 2013, the San Antonio court denied a request by the state to dismiss claims about the 2011 house map on grounds of mootness.  The court also concluded that a full, fair, and final review of all issues before the court could not be resolved in time for the 2014 elections and ordered the 2013-enacted Texas house map (PlanH358) to be used as the interim plan for the 2014 elections.  The court did not make any changes to the election schedule for 2014.

In July 2014, the San Antonio court heard evidence in Perez v. Perry regarding the 2011 legislatively enacted house plan (PlanH283).  A hearing on the 2013-enacted state house plan (PlanH358) will be scheduled at a later date.

83rd Legislative Session

In June 2013, the 83rd Legislature, 1st Called Session, passed S.B. 3, a new house plan (PlanH358) that made changes to 14 districts in Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, and Webb Counties.  Other districts in the state were identical to the districts in the interim state house plan (PlanH309) ordered by the San Antonio court.

Congressional Redistricting

Based on the 2010 federal decennial census, Texas was apportioned 36 congressional districts.

82nd Legislative Session

The Regular Session of the 82nd Legislature adjourned without adopting a congressional redistricting bill, and the 82nd Legislature, 1st Called Session, passed a congressional redistricting bill in June 2011 (PlanC185).  

Texas v. United States – Preclearance Lawsuit

The Texas Attorney General petitioned the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a declaratory judgment under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (Texas v. United States) validating the legislatively enacted U.S. congressional plan (PlanC185) in July 2011.  The D.C. district court heard the case in January 2012 and, in August, issued an opinion denying Texas preclearance.  The state appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.  In summer 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the coverage formula used to determine which states and local governments fall under the preclearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional (Shelby County v. Holder).  The court then vacated the D.C. district court's judgment denying preclearance of the legislatively enacted congressional plan and sent the case back for further consideration in light of the Shelby County ruling.  The D.C. district court found that Texas' claims were mooted by Shelby County and filed a memorandum and order to dismiss Texas' claims in December 2013.

Perez v. Perry – Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution Lawsuit

In September 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, started hearings on the consolidated federal lawsuits in Perez v. Perry andordered an interim congressional plan (PlanC220) in November.  The U.S. Supreme Court granted the state's request for a stay on the use of the interim congressional plan and, after hearing the case in January 2012, vacated the San Antonio court's order implementing the interim congressional plan and remanded the case for further proceedings.  In February, the San Antonio court ordered a new interim congressional plan (PlanC235) for the 2012 elections. 

In September 2013, the San Antonio court denied a request by the state to dismiss claims about the 2011 congressional map on grounds of mootness.  The court also concluded that a full, fair, and final review of all issues before the court could not be resolved in time for the 2014 elections and ordered the 2013-enacted U.S. congressional map (PlanC235) to be used as the interim plan for the 2014 elections.  The court did not make any changes to the election schedule for 2014.

In August 2014, the San Antonio court heard evidence in Perez v. Perry regarding the 2011 legislatively enacted congressional plan (PlanC185).  A hearing on the 2013-enacted congressional plan (PlanC235) will be scheduled at a later date.

83rd Legislative Session

The 83rd Legislature, 1st Called Session, passed a congressional redistricting bill, S.B. 4, adopting the court-ordered interim congressional plan (PlanC235) as the permanent congressional plan in June 2013.   

State Board of Education Redistricting

The 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, passed the State Board of Education redistricting bill, H.B. 600 (PlanE120), on May 5, 2011. On September 22, 2011, the U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, granted its approval for the plan under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Last updated: January 9, 2015

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