“It’s great that Chief Justice Roberts said this case would not reach the constitutionality of Section 5. Some feared that would happen,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) told Roll Call after the session. “If anything is to yield, it’s the election date.”
Only Justice Antonin Scalia expressed reservations about this, calling the government “absolutist” in its approach to Section 5 pre-clearance.
“It seems to me the government takes an absolutist approach to the proposition that you cannot use an un-pre-cleared plan for any purpose,” Scalia said. “What would you do if the district court in Washington and the district court in Texas, neither one of them acts in time, and it’s too late? It’s too late to have any primaries anymore? What would happen?”
Additional House Democrats attended the trial, including Texas Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, Al Green and Rubén Hinojosa. Afterward, outside under the first snowfall of the year, the three Democrats cried foul on their home state’s redistricting practices.
“The state of Texas has for decades refused to accept the benefit of their growing minority population,” Jackson Lee said. “When it comes to the distribution of the bounty of democracy, we are the stepchildren of Texas.”