Texas Court Orders New Map While Case Is Pending

A federal court in San Antonio will begin drawing a contingency Congressional map so that House candidates can file on time.

In a Friday evening order, the court said it’s unlikely that a separate federal pre-clearance trial in the District of Columbia’s District Court will finish before candidates begin to file.

The San Antonio court is handling a civil trial between  Democrats and minority groups who sued Texas over the new map. But the San Antonio court’s hands are tied until the District of Columbia’s District Court decides whether Texas’ new Congressional map complies with the Voting Rights Act. The Justice Department believes the new Texas map is illegal, and legal experts say a trial could last months.

For that reason, the three federal judges on the San Antonio court ordered both sides to draw a new Congressional map.

“The Court has an obligation to the public to consider other available options so that the 2012 election process may move forward,” the three judges wrote in their order. “One of options is the consideration of an interim court-ordered plan.”

Texas candidates can begin to file for office on Nov. 12. The primary is scheduled for March 6.