Texas Moves To Dismiss Section 5 Redistricting Case

July 3rd, 2013

Following the Supreme Court’s invalidation of Section 4 in Shelby County, Texas is no longer covered by Section 5. Further, after Shelby County, the Court vacated the D.D.C.’s opinion. Now, Texas has moved to dismiss the case, which it now argues is moot. The brief is short and sweet–two paragraphs:

Plaintiff the State of Texas hereby moves under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a) to dismiss all claims asserted in its Original Complaint. The Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, No. 12-96, 2013 WL 3184629 (U.S. June 25, 2013), reversing 679 F.3d 848 (D.C. Cir. 2012), that the coverage formula in Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional and “can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.” Id. at *18. The Supreme Court then vacated this Court’s judgment. See Texas v. United States, No. 12-496, 2013 WL 3213539, *1 (U.S. June 27, 2013). Given that Texas is no longer subject to preclearance, its claims in this Court are now moot.

The State of Texas further advises the Court that on June 23, 2013, the Texas Legislature enacted new electoral districts for the Texas Senate1, the Texas House of Representatives2, and the United States House of Representatives3, and expressly repealed the redistricting statutes for which the State sought declaratory judgment in this case4, thus eliminating any basis for this Court’s jurisdiction. The State of Texas therefore respectfully requests that the Court enter an order dismissing all claims asserted in this case.

I expect a similar motion to be made in the Voter ID case. Texas has already begun to require voter ID (though no elections, so it is not really urgent).