SI- Perez v. Perry Proposed interim plans

Date: 
Friday, February 10, 2012
Document Type: 
Statement of Interest

You may view the statement of interest in pdf format.

 

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

SAN ANTONIO DIVISION

SHANNON PEREZ, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

STATE OF TEXAS, et al.,

Defendants.

MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE

CAUCUS, TEXAS HOUSE OF

REPRESENTATIVES (MALC),

Plaintiff,

v.

STATE OF TEXAS, et al.,

Defendants.

TEXAS LATINO REDISTRICTING TASK

FORCE, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

RICK PERRY,

Defendant.

 

Civil Action No. 5:11-cv-360

(OLG-JES-XR)

Three-Judge Court

[Lead Case]

Civil Action No. 5:11-cv-361

(OLG-JES-XR)

Three-Judge Court

[Consolidated Case]

Civil Action No. 5:11-cv-490

(OLG-JES-XR)

Three-Judge Court

[Consolidated Case]

 

MARGARITA V. QUESADA, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

RICK PERRY, et al.,

Defendants.

JOHN T. MORRIS,

Plaintiff,

v.

STATE OF TEXAS, et al.

Defendants.

EDDIE RODRIGUEZ, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

RICK PERRY, et al.

Defendants.

 

Civil Action No. 5:11-cv-592

(OLG-JES-XR)

Three-Judge Court

[Consolidated Case]

Civil Action No. 5:11-cv-615

(OLG-JES-XR)

Three-Judge Court

[Consolidated Case]

Civil Action No. 5:11-cv-635

(OLG-JES-XR)

Three-Judge Court

[Consolidated Case]

STATEMENT OF INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES WITH RESPECT TO THE

PROPOSED INTERIM PLANS

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. The United States’ Interest .................................................................................................. 1

II. Summary of Argument ....................................................................................................... 1

III. The United States’ Section 5 Challenge to H283 Is Not Insubstantial ............................... 3

A. House District 33 .............................................................................................................. 3

B. House District 35 .............................................................................................................. 4

C. House District 41 .............................................................................................................. 5

D. House District 117 ............................................................................................................ 7

E. House District 149 .......................................................................................................... 10

IV. The United States’ Section 5 Challenge to C185 Is Not Insubstantial ............................. 12

A. Congressional District 23 ............................................................................................... 13

B. Dallas-Fort Worth Area .................................................................................................. 13

C. Districts 9, 18, and 30..................................................................................................... 14

D. Minority Growth ............................................................................................................ 15

V. This Court May Not Waive Preclearance Requirements .................................................. 16

VI. Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 18

 

ii

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

Cases

Abrams v. Johnson, 521 U.S. 74 (1997) ....................................................................................... 15

Beer v. United States, 425 U.S. 130 (1976) .................................................................................. 18

Busbee v. Smith, 546 F. Supp. 494 (D.D.C 1982)......................................................................... 14

Clark v. Roemer, 500 U.S. 646 (1991) ................................................................................... 16, 17

Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461 (2003) ...................................................................................... 2

Johnson v. Mortham, 926 F. Supp. 1460 (N.D. Fla. 1996) ........................................................... 17

Johnson v. Mortham, No. TCA 94-40025, 1996 WL 297280 (N.D. Fla. May 31, 1996) ............ 18

Lopez v. Monterey County, 519 U.S. 9 (1996) ............................................................................. 17

LULAC v. Perry, 548 U.S. 399 (2006) ......................................................................................... 13

Perry v. Perez, ___ S. Ct. ___, No. 11-713, 2012 WL 162610 (U.S. Jan. 20, 2012) ..................... 3

Reno v. Bossier Parish Sch. Bd. (Bossier Parish I), 520 U.S. 471 (1997) ................................... 15

Texas v. United States, No. 11-1303, 2011 WL 6440006 (D.D.C. Dec. 22, 2011) ............... passim

Vill.of Arlington Heights v. Metro. Hous. Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252 (1977) ................................. 6

Statutes

28 U.S.C. § 517 ............................................................................................................................... 1

42 U.S.C. § 1973c ..................................................................................................................... 1, 16

Regulations

28 C.F.R. § 51.18 .................................................................................................................... 17, 18

28 C.F.R. § 51.34 .......................................................................................................................... 18

28 C.F.R. § 51.59 .......................................................................................................................... 14

 

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I. THE UNITED STATES’ INTEREST

The United States files this Statement of Interest pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 517, which

authorizes the Attorney General to attend to the interests of the United States in any pending suit.

The United States respectfully submits this brief in response to the Court’s order, entered

February 2, 2012 (ECF No. 598), asking the parties to submit briefs on a variety of issues to

assist the Court in preparing interim redistricting plans. In this particular brief, the United States

is responding to the Court’s questions concerning Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5

precludes covered jurisdictions from implementing voting changes without receiving

“preclearance” for those changes. 42 U.S.C. § 1973c. The Attorney General has primary

responsibility for enforcing and administering Section 5. See id. §§ 1973(d), 1973c(a). The

United States thus has a strong interest in ensuring the statute is properly interpreted and applied.

The United States has a particular interest in the redistricting plans at issue in this case. It

currently is defending the related judicial preclearance action filed by the State of Texas in the

District Court for the District of Columbia. See Texas v. United States, No. 11-1303, 2011 WL

6440006 (D.D.C. Dec. 22, 2011). The United States has argued in that action that the State’s

proposed Congressional and State House plans fail to comply with Section 5. See United States’

Post-Trial Brief, ECF No. 203, Texas v. United States, No. 1:11-cv-1303 (D.D.C. filed Feb. 6,

2012) (attached hereto as Exhibit 1) [hereinafter US Trial Br.]. The three-judge court denied the

State’s motion for summary judgment. See Texas v. United States, 2011 WL 6440006, at *1.

Trial in that case has concluded, and the matter awaits decision.

II. SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

The United States’ brief is intended to assist the Court by identifying the aspects of the

State’s enacted plans for the State House of Representatives and U.S. Congress that the United

 

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States believes will not have reasonable probability of gaining Section 5 preclearance in the U.S.

District Court for the District of Columbia. In addition, we address whether this Court may

waive preclearance requirements for voting changes that would be needed to implement the

interim plans, and we contend that it may not.

Texas contends that the issues raised by the United States have not established “a

reasonable probability that any aspect of the State’s plans does not comply with Section 5.”

Texas Advisory, ECF No. 605, at 3. The United States has previously argued that the Section 5

court’s ruling on the State’s motion for summary judgment in the declaratory judgment action

demonstrated that the Section 5 concerns were not insubstantial. ECF No. 591. In this brief, the

United States avers that the evidence adduced at the recently concluded trial demonstrates that

there is a reasonable probability that Texas will fail to gain preclearance on both the proposed

House and Congressional redistricting plans.

The proposed State House plan (H283) is retrogressive because only 45 districts provide

minority voters with the ability to elect their candidate of choice, whereas 50 districts provide

minority voters with the ability to elect in the benchmark plan. The Congressional plan (C185)

is retrogressive because the State has failed to prove that the proposed plan “does not increase

the degree of discrimination” against minority voters. See Texas v. United States, 2011 WL

6440006, at *3. The Congressional plan would need to increase by one the number districts in

which minority voters have the ability to elect their candidates of choice in order to avoid

increasing the degree of discrimination from current levels. Because the United States reviews

the plan on a statewide basis, the retrogression in these plans can be cured by creating new

districts anywhere in the State. See Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461, 479 (2003) (“inquiry

must encompass the entire statewide plan as a whole”).

 

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However, the proposed redistricting plans for the State House and Congress are also

infected with discriminatory purpose. There are particular districts in which discriminatory

purpose is evident. In H283, these districts include District 41, 117, and the Harris County

districts. In C185, these districts include District 23, districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and

Districts 9, 18, and 30 in the Congress. Even if the State were to create new ability districts

elsewhere in the State, those districts drawn with discriminatory intent must specifically be

changed so that the interim plan will not “reflect aspects of the state plan that stand a reasonable

probability of failing to gain § 5 preclearance.” Perry v. Perez, ___ S. Ct. ___, No. 11-713, 2012

WL 162610, at *4 (U.S. Jan. 20, 2012); cf. also Upham v. Seamon, 456 U.S. 37, 43 (1982)

(requiring that a remedial plan institute modifications “necessary to cure any constitutional or

statutory defect”).

III. THE UNITED STATES’ SECTION 5 CHALLENGE TO H283 IS NOT

INSUBSTANTIAL

There is a reasonable probability that Texas will not obtain a declaratory judgment

regarding Plan H283. In particular, Districts 33, 35, 41, 117, and 149 currently provide minority

voters with the ability to elect, and they will not do so in Plan H283, reducing the number of

districts in which minority voters have the ability to elect their preferred candidates of choice

from 50 to 45. In addition, the United States has presented a substantial discriminatory purpose

claim concerning H283; this purpose is most evident in Districts 41 and 117, as well as the

districts within Harris County.

A. House District 33

The United States has presented a substantial Section 5 challenge to House District 33. In

the benchmark plan, House District 33 is located in Nueces County, and all parties to the

 

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preclearance action agree that Hispanic citizens have the ability to elect candidates of their

choice to the Texas House of Representatives in this district. The proposed plan moves it to

Collin and Rockwall counties, and all parties agree that minorities will not be able to elect

candidates of their choice there. The United States challenges that move as retrogressive in

purpose and effect. See U.S. Trial Br. at 4-5, 29.

Texas asserted that proposed House District 74 offsets that loss. The State contends that

House District 74, which has been represented by Hispanic Democrat Pete Gallego since the

1990s, was not a Hispanic ability district in the benchmark plan but is an ability district in the

proposed plan. Tex. Post-Trial Brief at 13-14, ECF No. 201, Texas v. United States, No. 1:11-

cv-1303 (D.D.C. filed Feb. 6, 2012) [hereinafter Tex. Trial Br.]. The United States presented

substantial evidence at trial, however, that Hispanic citizens already have the ability to elect their

preferred candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives in benchmark House

District 74; Hispanic voters’ ability to elect preferred candidates in proposed House District 74

therefore cannot offset the loss of benchmark House District 33. See U.S. Trial Br. at 13; United

States’ Proposed Findings of Fact ¶¶ 76-87, ECF No. 185, Texas v. United States, No. 1:11-cv-

1303 (D.D.C. filed Feb. 3, 2012) (attached hereto as Exhibit 2) [hereinafter U.S. PFOF].

B. House District 35

The United States has presented a substantial Section 5 challenge to House District 35,

which is south of Bexar County. U.S. Trial Br. at 5-6. The United States presented substantial

evidence at trial that Hispanic citizens currently have the ability to elect their preferred

candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives in benchmark House District 35.

U.S. PFOF 18-21. Indeed, Hispanic voters elected their preferred candidate to the House in

 

5

2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008, though elections throughout the decade were very close. U.S.

PFOF ¶ 20.

The United States also presented substantial evidence at trial that Hispanic citizens will

not have the ability to elect their preferred candidates of choice in proposed House District 35.

Id. ¶¶ 22-28. Compared to benchmark House District 35, the proposed district decreases

Hispanic population and voter registration percentages. Id. ¶ 25. The proposed district

increases the degree of racially polarized voting. Id. ¶ 26. And it decreases the performance of

Hispanic-preferred candidates in general elections. Id. ¶ 27. In light of those changes, expert

witness Dr. Lisa R. Handley concluded that Hispanic voters will not be able to elect their chosen

candidates to the House from the reconfigured district. U.S. Trial Br. at 6.

C. House District 41

The United States has presented a substantial challenge to House District 41 under both

the purpose and effect prongs of Section 5. See U.S. Trial Br. at 6-9, 23 & n.12. Benchmark

District 41 is located in Hidalgo County, and the parties agree that the District provides minority

voters with the ability to elect their candidates of choice. U.S. PFOF ¶ 34. The evidence

presented at trial does not prove that proposed District 41 provides minority voters with the

ability to elect their candidates of choice.

The performance of proposed District 41 in exogenous elections declines, but the number

and size of split VTDs in the proposed plan prevents an exact measurement of the severity of that

decline. Thirty-one percent of the District’s population resides in these split VTDs, and the

partial precincts include relatively Anglo census blocks and exclude homogenous Hispanic

census blocks. Id. ¶¶ 37, 39. Because political data are collected at the precinct level,

reconstituted election analysis must assume that every census block within a precinct is

 

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politically identical. As a result, dividing precincts by a characteristic that correlates with

political preference – as race does in District 41 – introduces substantial error in that analysis.1

Because there is no dispute that the benchmark district is an ability-to-elect district, and because

Texas cannot demonstrate that it remains so in the proposed plan, the challenge to House District

41 under the effect prong of Section 5 is not insubstantial.2

More importantly, Texas has used race as a proxy for partisanship in District 41 and has

drawn the District with the purpose of eliminating minority voters’ ability to elect their candidate

of choice, violating the purpose prong of Section 5. With no partisan data available below the

precinct level, the statistically significant racial skew to the 17 split precincts along the

boundaries of proposed District 41 are “unexplainable on grounds other than race.” Vill. of

Arlington Heights v. Metro. Hous. Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 266 (1977). The inference that

naturally arises from this persistent pattern is that the map-drawers added Anglo voters to this

district so that Hispanic voters would not be able to elect their candidate of choice. U.S. PFOF

¶¶ 148-149.

The State has failed to rebut the inference of arises from the persistent bias of precinct

splits across the proposed plans. The United States presented the testimony of Jaime Longoria,

assistant county administrator of Hidalgo County, who explained that several Hispanic

1 This is the reason that Dr. Handley could not reach a conclusion on whether District 41 performs in the

proposed plan. Id. ¶ 38.

2 The United States has urged the District of Columbia Court not to apply a presumption that a 65%

voting majority provides minority voters provides the ability to elect their candidates of choice. See U.S.

Trial Br. at 8-9. The United States presented substantial evidence in District 41 that the Hispanic

community of Hidalgo County faces crushing socioeconomic burdens, particularly in the shantytowns

known as colonias. U.S. PFOF ¶ 44. There has also been a history of discrimination. Id. ¶ 123.

Obstacles to political participation for voters in these communities uniquely impair their “‘realistic

opportunity to elect officials of their choice.’” Texas v. United States, 2011 WL 6440006, at *16 n.22

(quoting Ketchum v. Byrne, 740 F.2d 1398, 1410 (7th Cir. 1984)).

 

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neighborhoods were eliminated from the district via the exclusion of partial precincts. Id. ¶ 149;

see also id. ¶¶ 150-154 (setting out timeline and limited information concerning precinct splits).

This district of plan H283 stands a reasonable probability of failing to gain preclearance.

D. House District 117

The United States has also presented a substantial challenge to House District 117 under

both the purpose and effect prongs of Section 5. See U.S. Trial Br. at 9-10, 20-22. Texas has

eliminated the ability of minority voters to elect candidates of choice in District 117 without

creating a new ability district elsewhere in the State, violating the effects prong of Section 5. It

is undisputed that Hispanic citizens have the ability to elect their preferred candidate of choice in

the benchmark plan. U.S. PFOF ¶ 50. Expert testimony provided by both Texas and the United

States indicated that the proposed district will not provide Hispanic citizens with the ability to

elect preferred candidates. Id. ¶ 60.

The State has asserted that an election analysis is unnecessary in District 117 because

more than 60% of the citizen voting age population of the proposed District is Hispanic. Tex.

Advisory, ECF No. 605, at 9-10. However Texas has misinterpreted the District of Columbia

Court’s finding concerning the so-called 65 Percent Rule. The Court’s opinion denying the

State’s motion for summary judgment observed, “A district with a minority voting majority of

sixty-five percent (or more) essentially guarantees that, despite changes in voter turnout,

registration, and other factors that affect participation at the polls, a cohesive minority group will

be able to elect its candidate of choice.” Texas v. United States, 2011 WL 6440006, at *16

(emphasis added). The Court rule described a voting majority, which suggested that the relevant

measure was citizen voting age population. Moreover, the court did not list differentials in age

distribution as a factor that the required supermajority would take into account. Nevertheless,

 

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Texas has attempted to cut the voting majority to 60% by assuming that the D.C. Court had

adopted the precise observations made by cases that the Court cited in support of the 65 Percent

Rule. See Tex. Advisory, ECF No. 605 at 10 (citing Texas v. United States, 2011 WL 6440006

at *16 n.22). During closing arguments, the Court corrected this misinterpretation of its prior

opinion.

MR. MORTARA: But split VTDs does not [a]ffect the calculation

of demographic benchmarks like HCVAP. What you see here is

that 14 House District 41 in the adopted plan has an HCVAP of

72.1 15 percent well in excess of the bright line 60 percent

benchmark the Court adopted in footnote 22 of its summary

judgment opinion. Under this Court's bright line, House District

41 is an ability to elect district in the proposed plan as a matter of

law. Therefore, there is no retrogression with respect to this

district. The same is true of House District --

JUDGE HOWELL: We didn't adopt a 60 percent bright line rule.

We said 65 percent in the text of the opinion.

MR. MORTARA: I’m going to show you on the screen the

opinion.

JUDGE COLLYER: Are you debating with Judge Howell of what

we said in our opinion? Mr. Mortara, please do not do that.

MR. MORTARA: Your Honor, the footnote 22 of the opinion

establishes in the text a 60 percent voting age population number.

It starts with 65 percent population and in the footnote gets down

to 60 percent voting age. As Your Honor knows, there are

substantial citizenship issues with the Hispanic population in Texas

and therefore, a 60 percent Hispanic voting age population is not a

good benchmark.

JUDGE HOWELL: Mr. Mortara, you can stick with your 60

percent interpretation of the opinion, and you can continue with

that throughout your briefing in the case. And we can rest on that.

Tr. at 9:12-10:17 (Jan. 31 a.m.) (attached hereto as Exhibit 3). The Court again reached out to

clarify the applicable metric during the United States’ closing argument:

 

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MR. MELLETT: Let me address, it was brought up a couple of

times regarding the 65 percent rule. The, Your Honors, we

respectfully disagree that there should be a bright line rule. And

part of that –

JUDGE HOWELL: Do you agree that it's 65 percent in our

opinion?

MR. MELLETT: No, Your Honor.

JUDGE HOWELL: Do you agree that at least that we said 65

percent?

MR. MELLETT: Yes, we do agree that you said it's 65 percent.

JUDGE HOWELL: Thank you for that.

Id. at 85:18-86:4. Judge Howell made one additional mention of the relevant portion of the

Court’s final opinion to clarify its meaning:

JUDGE HOWELL: Can I just make sure that everybody

understands what we said because we were very careful about this

line in our opinion. And we thought we were clear, a District with

minority voting majority, we didn’t say voting age, we said voting

minority so people in prisons who don't vote don't constitute part

of a voting majority.

Id. at 87:12-18. Because the 63.8% HCVAP concentration in proposed House District 117 falls

below the D.C. Court’s 65% CVAP threshold for a de jure performing district, retrogression

concerns in this District are not insubstantial.

In crafting proposed District 117, the State purposefully eliminated electoral opportunity

while applying a subtle yet discernible methods to maintain a Hispanic population majority.

Because this intentional retrogression violates the purpose prong of Section 5, any interim plan

must redraw this specific district, rather than merely replacing it with a performing district

elsewhere in the State to satisfy retrogression concerns. The precipitous drop in Hispanic turnout

between benchmark District 117 and proposed District 117 is a principal example of the strategy

 

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developed by Eric Opiela and Gerardo Interiano when they were both on the staff of House

Speaker Joe Straus. According to Opiela,

It also would be good to calculate Spanish Surname Turnout/Total

Turnout ratio for the 2006-2010 General Elections for all VTDs (I

already have the data for this for 2006-2008 in a spreadsheet, just

need to gather it for every VTD for 2010). . . . These metrics would

be useful in identifying a “nudge factor” by which one can analyze

which Census blocks, when added to a particular district

(especially 50+1 minority majority districts) help pull the district’s

total Hispanic Pop and Hispanic CVAPs up to majority status, but

leave the Spanish Surname [registered voters] and [turnout] the

lowest.

DX 304. Interiano acted upon Opiela’s request and received at least some of the data from the

Texas Legislative Council (TLC). DX 294; DX 197. Interiano was responsible for drawing the

maps in Bexar County, and proposed District 117 was drawn as a “50+1” District with precisely

50.1% SSVR. U.S. PFOF ¶¶ 158-159.3 The result of this strategy is clear: despite marginal

changes in SSVR between benchmark District 117 and proposed District 117, projected Hispanic

turnout falls between 40% and 50%. US PFOF ¶ 163. Dr. Arrington concluded that by focusing

on poor, low turnout Hispanic communities, the map-drawers dramatically and deliberately

diminished the Hispanic community’s ability to elect preferred candidates. DX 320 ¶¶ 26-27.

This district of plan H283 stands a reasonable probability of failing to gain preclearance.

E. House District 149

The United States has presented a substantial Section 5 challenge to House District 149.

U.S. Trial Br. at 10-13, 29-30. In the benchmark plan, House District 149 is located in

southwestern Harris County and has been represented since 2005 by the only Vietnamese

3 When the representative of District 118 sought to recover two impoverished communities that had been

excised from his District, he was told that no change to District 117 would be permitted if it raised SSVR

above 50.1%. U.S. PFOF ¶¶ 158, 160-161.

 

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American ever to serve in the Texas Legislature, Representative Hubert Vo. U.S. PFOF ¶ 63.

The proposed plan moves the district to Williamson County, where all parties agree minorities

will not be able to elect candidates of their choice. Id. ¶ 75. The United States challenges that

move as retrogressive in effect and discriminatory in purpose.

At trial, the United States presented substantial evidence that a coalition of Asian-

American, African-American, and Hispanic citizens currently have the ability to elect preferred

candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives in benchmark House District 149.

These minority groups comprise 61.5% of the district’s citizen voting age population and voted

cohesively to elect their preferred candidate, Representative Vo, in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010.

Id. ¶ 69. The United States presented evidence that this coalition has elected other candidates for

local offices, and this coalition includes many facets of life including economic coalitions. Id.

An existing coalition district in which minority voters elect their candidate of choice is protected

under Section 5. See Texas v. United States, 2011 WL 6440006, at *18-19.

The United States also presented substantial evidence that the change to House District

149 is tainted with racially discriminatory intent. The proposed plan draws Representative Vo

into House District 137, which is represented by a longtime Democratic incumbent,

Representative Scott Hochberg. U.S. PFOF ¶ 167. It contains only a fraction of Representative

Vo’s current constituency. Id. ¶ 169. Anglo legislators told Representative Hochberg that he

would be “comfortable” in proposed House District 137, suggesting that the district had been

drawn to favor him over Representative Vo. Id. Partisan motives would have led to the opposite

result – favoring Representative Vo over Representative Hochberg – because the latter is a more

senior, more powerful, and more influential legislator. Id. ¶ 170. The only apparent explanation

here for targeting a junior member over a senior member is race. Id. ¶ 171.

 

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The State’s evidence does not establish that this challenge is insubstantial. The State did

not dispute that Representative Vo was, in fact, the minority-preferred candidate in the four

elections he won. Instead, the State presented evidence that Democratic candidates for statewide

offices rarely win in District 149. 4 The State also offered evidence that there is no coalition in

House District 149 because minority voters do not vote cohesively in Democratic primaries for

statewide offices, but Texas did not address the coalition for local offices. The United States has

argued that Section 5 protection does not depend on cohesion in statewide primary elections.

U.S. Trial Br. at 12-13; see also Gonzales Intervenors’ Bench Brief, ECF No. 169, Texas v.

United States, No. 1:11-cv-1303 (D.D.C. filed Jan. 23, 2012). The State offered no evidence to

rebut the United States’ intent claim on this district. This aspect of plan H283 stands a

reasonable probability of failing to gain preclearance.

IV. THE UNITED STATES’ SECTION 5 CHALLENGE TO C185 IS NOT

INSUBSTANTIAL

The United States has challenged plan C185 under both prongs of Section 5. The United

States claims that the plan is retrogressive because it increases minority underrepresentation by

one district. U.S. Trial Br. at 14-16. The United States also claims that the plan reflects

purposeful discrimination against minority voters; this purpose is most evident in Congressional

District 23, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and in Congressional Districts 9, 18, and 30.

U.S. Trial Br. at 18-30.

4 In its post-trial proposed findings of fact, Texas suggested for the first time that proposed House

District 101 compensates for any retrogression resulting from the elimination of benchmark District 149

as an ability district in Plan H283. ECF No. 186 ¶ 100. As a review of Texas’ proposed findings of fact

makes clear, the State has not produced a scintilla of evidence that proposed House District 101 provides

minority voters with an ability to elect their preferred candidates to the House. Id. ¶¶ 96-100.

 

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Texas acknowledges in its advisory that Congressional District 23 and the Dallas-Fort

Worth Metroplex are “fairly at issue.” Tex. Advisory, ECF No. 605 at 13-14. As we explain

below, moreover, all of the United States’ challenges are not insubstantial. These aspects of plan

C185 therefore stand a reasonable probability of failing to gain preclearance.

A. Congressional District 23

Congressional District 23 in the benchmark plan provides Hispanic voters with an ability

to elect their preferred candidates of choice. The district’s very creation in 2006 as a minority

opportunity district to remedy the Section 2 violation found by the Supreme Court in LULAC v.

Perry, 548 U.S. 399, 425-42 (2006), is indicative of its status as a protected district under

Section 5. Furthermore, following that decision, and as the Court had foreseen, the growing and

increasingly active Hispanic community in District 23 succeeded in electing its preferred

candidate to Congress, first in 2006 and again in 2008. See U.S. PFOF ¶ 191.

The United States has stated that in Congressional District 23, there is direct evidence of

discriminatory purpose to keep the Hispanic concentration the same but decrease the ability of

Hispanic voters to elect their candidates of choice by swapping out high turnout Hispanic voters

and replace them with low turnout Hispanic voters. Id. ¶¶ 197, 229-230; U.S. Trial Br. at 20-22.

The map drawers were successful in their efforts; proposed Congressional District 23 clearly

does not provide Hispanic voters with an ability to elect their preferred candidates. U.S. PFOF

¶¶ 198, 236-237. The United States has also identified evidence regarding splitting precincts

based on race in Congressional District 23, which also supports a conclusion that the District was

shaped by a discriminatory purpose. Id. ¶¶ 231-235; U.S. Trial Br. at 22-24.

B. Dallas-Fort Worth Area

 

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Instead of allowing a minority-controlled Congressional district to emerge naturally

within the compact minority communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the map-drawers

intentionally divvied up urban, low-income, minority population among four Anglo-controlled

Congressional districts with bizarre shapes – CD6, CD12, CD26, and CD33. Cracking of the

minority population and submersion in Anglo, rural districts is further evidence of discriminatory

purpose. USPFOF ¶¶ 239-256; U.S. Trial Br. at 24-25; see also Busbee v. Smith, 546 F. Supp.

494, 517 (D.D.C 1982) (finding that splitting Black voters in Atlanta among two districts was

probative of racial purpose); see also 28 C.F.R. § 51.59(a)(3)-(4) (packing and cracking minority

populations is probative of discriminatory purpose). Moreover, the boundaries of Congressional

District 26 split 49 precincts, and 38 of these splits are located in a “lightning bolt” in Tarrant

County. U.S. PFOF ¶ 250. The boundary between Congressional District 26 and District 12 at

the eastern boundary of the “lightning bolt” divides minority communities according to race. Id.

The boundary line divides a homogenous Democratic area and could not have been guided by

political data. Id. ¶ 251. Based on this evidence, there is a reasonable probability that these

aspects of the Congressional Plan will not gain Section 5 preclearance.

C. Districts 9, 18, and 30

There is a reasonable probability that Texas will not gain preclearance regarding Districts

9, 18 and 30 because of discriminatory purpose in drawing these districts in Plan C185.

Substantial evidence was presented at trial that the map drawers had removed economic engines

from Districts 9, 18, and 30 (e.g., hospitals, manufacturing hubs, and the Superdome). They had

similarly drawn the Congress members’ district offices out of each of their districts and had

drawn Representative Johnson’s home from her district. U.S. Trial Br. at 26; see also NAACP

Proposed Findings of Fact ¶¶ 190-194, 198-200, 230, ECF No. 181, Texas v. United States, No.

 

15

1:11-cv-360 (D.D.C. filed Feb. 3, 2012); NAACP Post-Trial Brief at 4-12, ECF No. 198. Texas

v. United States, No. 1:11-cv-360 (D.D.C. filed Feb. 6, 2012). There was no hint of comparable

treatment of Anglo members of Congress. NAACP Proposed Findings of Fact ¶¶ 212-213.

When asked to explain this disparate treatment, map-drawer Gerardo Interiano testified

implausibly that it was all merely a “coincidence.” Tr. at 95:3-95:19 (Jan. 25 p.m.) (attached

hereto as Exhibit 4).

D. Minority Growth

The United States discusses its retrogression challenge at length in its post-trial brief, see

U.S. Trial Br. 14-16, and we incorporate that discussion here. We explain that, under the

standard set forth in the memorandum opinion denying the State’s motion for summary

judgment, Plan C185 is retrogressive because it “increase[s] the degree of discrimination against

a minority population.” Texas v. United States, 2011 WL 6440006, at *3 (citing City of Lockhart

v. United States, 460 U.S. 125, 134-35 (1983)); accord Reno v. Bossier Parish Sch. Bd. (Bossier

I), 520 U.S. 471, 479 (1997) .

This challenge is not insubstantial. The three-judge court in the District of Columbia

denied the State’s motion for summary judgment on that issue and specifically rejected the

State’s reliance on Abrams v. Johnson, 521 U.S. 74, 97 (1997). See Texas v. United States, 2011

WL 6440006, at *20 (explaining that where the number of legislative seats has increased,

Abrams “does not hold that the failure to draw new minority districts can never be

retrogressive”). As a result, any interim plan must account for the United States’ challenge. To

do so, the 36-district interim plan must increase the number of minority ability districts by one

 

16

district. If this Court finds that there are 10 minority ability districts in the benchmark plan, the

interim plan must have 11.5 The new district may be anywhere in the State.6

V. THIS COURT MAY NOT WAIVE PRECLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS

The Court has also requested an advisory regarding whether it may waive the

preclearance requirements for “the voting changes that would need to be submitted to the

Department of Justice by the counties after new interims plans are issued in this case.” ECF No.

598. The United States contends that this Court does not have the authority to waive the

preclearance requirements, where there is no emergency that would justify such a decision. In

addition, administrative preclearance is available on an expedited basis, which would allow

jurisdictions to obtain preclearance in a timely manner.

Section 5 requires covered States to obtain judicial or administrative preclearance before

enforcing a voting change. 42 U.S.C. § 1973c(a). “A voting change in a covered jurisdiction

‘will not be effective as law until and unless cleared’ pursuant to one of these two methods.”

Clark v. Roemer, 500 U.S. 646, 662 (1991) (quoting Connor v. Waller, 421 U.S. 656, 656 (1975)

(per curiam)). “Failure to obtain either judicial or administrative preclearance ‘renders the

change unenforceable.’” Id. (quoting Hathorn v. Lovorn, 457 U.S. 255, 269 (1982)).

5 The United States does not count Congressional District 25 among the 10 minority ability districts in the

benchmark plan.

6 The 2010 Census showed that Texas’s population had increased by nearly 4.3 million people since 2000.

U.S. Request for Judicial Notice ¶ 8, ECF No. 180, United States v. Texas, 1:11-cv-360 (D.D.C. filed Feb.

3, 2012) (attached hereto as Exhibit 5). Explosive growth among the State’s minority population

accounted for approximately 90% of that increase. Id. ¶¶ 8, 18. As a result of this growth, Texas was

entitled to four new Congressional seats, but minority voters did not receive the ability to elect a

candidate of choice in one of the new districts. Failure to create any new seats in which minority voters

would have the ability to elect their preferred candidates of choice, as a reflection of the State’s explosive

minority growth, is also substantial evidence of a discriminatory purpose. See U.S. Trial Br. at 24.

 

17

Not only is a covered jurisdiction barred from enforcing its unprecleared plan, but a

federal court may not order that jurisdiction to hold elections in which unprecleared voting

changes will be implemented. See, e.g., Clark, 500 U.S. at 654 (“§ 5’s prohibition against

implementation of unprecleared changes required the District Court to enjoin the election”);

Lopez v. Monterey County, 519 U.S. 9, 22 (1996) (holding that it was error for district court to

“order elections under that system before it had been precleared”). In both Clark and Lopez, the

Court declined to decide whether there could ever be a circumstance in which a court may “allow

an election for an unprecleared seat to go forward” but observed that “extreme circumstances

might be present if a seat’s unprecleared status is not drawn to the attention of the State until the

eve of the election and there are equitable principles that justify allowing the election to

proceed.” Clark, 500 U.S. at 654; Lopez, 519 U.S. at 21 (quoting Clark, 500 U.S. at 654). In

neither of those cases did the court find such an exigency, and no greater emergency exists here.

The Attorney General’s regulations regarding Section 5 make it clear that “changes

affecting voting for which approval by a Federal court is required, or that are ordered by a

Federal court, are exempt from section 5 review only where the Federal court prepared the

change and the change has not been subsequently adopted or modified by the relevant

governmental body.” 28 C.F.R. § 51.18(a). Voting changes such as polling place and precinct

changes would be determined by the counties and not the court, and therefore, would require

preclearance. See id. § 51.18(b).7

7 The district court in Johnson v. Mortham, 926 F. Supp. 1460 (N.D. Fla. 1996), did not permit a covered

jurisdiction to forgo preclearance. In that case, the court, having found one Florida congressional district

unconstitutional, directed the Florida Legislature to revise the district boundaries by a date certain. The

court explained that it would review the plan for compliance with Section 5 and – if satisfied – order the

plan into effect without preclearance. See id. at 1494. The court never did so, however. After the

Legislature enacted a new plan, the Attorney General precleared it, and then the district court found the

 

18

The Section 5 Procedures also note that emergency interim use does not insulate a

jurisdiction from obtaining preclearance for a practice on a permanent basis: “In emergencies. A

Federal court’s authorization of the emergency interim use without preclearance of a voting

change does not exempt from section 5 review any use of that practice not explicitly authorized

by the court.” 28 C.F. R. § 51.18(d). The United States is unaware of any situation in which

§ 51.18(d) has been invoked by a court to authorize a jurisdiction not to obtain preclearance.

The United States also contends that there is no emergency situation that would justify

the use of the regulation. First, any emergency situation would be created by the court itself.

The court has already moved the primary, and it is within the court’s authority to set a primary

date that would allow for enough time so that the preclearance process can be followed. Second,

even if the court adhered to an April primary date, there is still enough time for jurisdictions to

submit their voting changes for preclearance. Jurisdictions would be able to request expedited

review of their Section 5 submission, and jurisdictions often can receive a response in

significantly less than 60 days. See 28 C.F.R. § 51.34.

VI. CONCLUSION

In order to address the United States’ substantial retrogression claims, an interim House

plan must maintain 50 districts in which minority voters have the ability to elect their candidates

of choice, and an interim Congressional plan must include 11 such districts. See Beer v. United

States, 425 U.S. 130, 141 (1976). The specific districts infected with a discriminatory purpose

must be drawn in the interim map.

Date: February 10, 2012

constitutional violation remedied. See Johnson v. Mortham, No. TCA 94-40025, 1996 WL 297280, at *1

(N.D. Fla. May 31, 1996).

 

19

Respectfully submitted,

ROBERT PITMAN THOMAS E. PEREZ

United States Attorney Assistant Attorney General

Western District of Texas Civil Rights Division

/s/ Timothy F. Mellett

T. CHRISTIAN HERREN, JR.

TIMOTHY F. MELLETT

BRYAN SELLS

JAYE ALLISON SITTON

DANIEL J. FREEMAN

Attorneys

Voting Section

Civil Rights Division

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20530

Telephone: (202) 353-0099

Facsimile: (202) 307-3961

1

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby certify that on February 10, 2012, I served a true and correct copy of the foregoing

via the Court’s ECF system on the following counsel of record:

David R. Richards

Richards Rodriguez & Skeith, LLP

816 Congress, Suite 1200

Austin , TX 78701

(512) 476-0005

davidr@rrsfirm.com

Richard E. Grey III

Gray & Becker, P.C.

900 West Avenue, Suite 300

Austin, TX 78701

(512) 482-0061

Rick.gray@graybecker.com

Counsel for Perez Plaintiffs

Luis Roberto Vera, Jr.

Law Offices of Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. &

Associates

1325 Riverview Towers

111 Soledad

San Antonio, TX 78205

(210) 225-3300

lrvlaw@sbcglobal.net

George Joseph Korbel

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Inc.

1111 North Main

San Antonio, TX 78213

210-212-3600

korbellaw@hotmail.com

Counsel for Plaintiff League of United Latin

American Citizens

Nina Perales

Marisa Bono

Rebecca McNeill Couto

Mexican American Legal Defense

and Education Fund

110 Broadway, Suite 300

San Antonio, TX 78205

(210) 224-5476

nperales@maldef.org

mbono@maldef.org

rcouto@maldef.org

Nicolas Espiritu

634 S. Spring Street, 11th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90014

Phone: (213)629-2512/ (213)629-0266

nespiritu@maldef.org

Mark Anthony Sanchez

Robert W. Wilson

Gale, Wilson & Sanchez, PLLC

115 East Travis Street, Ste. 1900

San Antonio, TX 78205

masanchez@gws-law.com

rwwilson@gws-law.com

(213) 629-2512

Counsel for Plaintiff Latino Redistricting

Task Force

 

2

Rolando L. Rios

Law Offices of Rolando L. Rios

115 E Travis Street, Suite 1645

San Antonio, TX 78205

(210) 222-2102

rrios@rolandorioslaw.com

Counsel for Plaintiff Henry Cuellar

Jose Garza

Law Office of Jose Garza

7414 Robin Rest Dr.

San Antonio, TX 78209

(210) 392-2856

garzpalm@aol.com

Mark W. Kiehne

Ricardo G. Cedillo

Davis, Cedillo & Mendoza

755 Mulberry Ave., Suite 500

San Antonio, TX 78212

(210) 822-6666

mkiehne@lawdcm.com

rcedillo@lawdcm.com

Joaquin G. Avila

P.O. Box 33687

Seattle, WA 98133

(206) 724-3731

jgavotingrights@gmail.com

Cynthia B. Jones

Jones Legal Group, LLC

904 12th Ave E.

Seattle, WA 98102

(206) 972-4943

jones.cynthiab@gmail.com

Counsel for Plaintiff Mexican American

Legislative Caucus

Gerald H. Goldstein

Donald H. Flanary, III

Goldstein, Goldstein and Hilley

310 S. St. Mary’s Street, 29th Floor

San Antonio, TX 78205

(210) 226-1463

ggandh@aol.com

donflanary@hotmail.com

Paul M. Smith

Michael B. DeSanctis

Jessica Ring Amunson

Caroline D. Lopez

Jenner & Block LLP

1099 New York Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 639-6000

psmith@jenner.Com

mdesanctis@jenner.Com

jamunson@jenner.Com

clopez@jenner.com

J. Gerald Hebert

191 Somervelle St. # 405

Alexandria, VA 22304

(703) 628-4673

hebert@voterlaw.com

Jesse Gaines

P.O. Box 50093

Fort Worth, TX 76105

(817) 714-9988

Counsel for Plaintiff Jamaal R. Smith

 

3

Gary L. Bledsoe

Law Office of Gary L. Bledsoe

316 W. 12th Street, Suite 307

Austin, TX 78701

512-322-9992

garybledsoe@sbcglobal.net

Victor L. Goode

NAACP

4805 Mt. Hope Drive

Baltimore, MD 21215

(410) 580-5120

vgoode@naacpnet.org

Robert Notzon

1507 Nueces Street

Austin, TX 78701

(512) 474-7563

robert@notzonlaw.com

Anita Sue Earls

Allison Jean Riggs

Southern Coalition for Social Justice

1415 West Highway 54, Suite 101

Durham, NC 27707

(919) 323-3380

allison@southerncoalition.org

anita@southerncoalition.org

Counsel for Texas State Conference of

NAACP Braches

John T. Morris

5703 Caldicote St.

Humble, TX 77346

(281) 852-6388

johnmorris1939@hotmail.com

Pro Se

Karen M. Kennard

2803 Clearview Drive

Austin, TX 78703

(512) 974-2177

karen.kennard@ci.austin.tx.us

Max Renea Hicks

101 West Sixth Street, Suite 504

Austin, TX 78701

(512) 480-8231

rhicks@renea-hicks.com

Manuel Escobar, Jr.

201 W. Poplar

San Antonio, TX 78212

(210) 212-5592

escobarm1@aol.com

Abha Khanna

Perkins Coie LLP

1201 Third Avenue, Suite 4800

Seattle, WA 98101-3099

(206) 359-8312

akhanna@perkinscoie.com

Marc Erik Elias

Perkins Coie LLP

700 Thirteenth Street N.W., Suite 600

Washington, DC 20005

(202) 434-1609

melias@perkinscoie.com

S. Abraham Kuczaj, III

Stephen E. McConnico

Sam Johnson

Scott Douglass & McConnico, LLP

600 Congress Avenue, 15th Floor

Austin, TX 78701

(512) 495-6300

akuczaj@scottdoug.com

smcconnico@scottdoug.com

sjohnson@scottdoug.com

David Escamilla

Travis County Asst. Attorney

P.O. Box 1748

Austin, TX 78767

(512)854-9416

david.escamilla@co.travis.tx.us

Counsel for Plaintiffs City of Austin et al.

 

4

Chad W. Dunn

K. Scott Brazil

Brazil & Dunn

4201 FM 1960 West, Suite 530

Houston, TX 77068

(281) 580-6310

chad@brazilanddunn.com

scott@brazilanddunn.com

Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenors Texas

Democratic Party and Boyd Richie

John K. Tanner

John Tanner Law Office

3743 Military Rd. NW

Washington, DC 20015

(202) 503-7696

Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenor Texas

Legislative Black Caucus

Donna Garcia Davidson

P.O. Box 12131

Austin, TX 78711

(512) 775-7625

donna@dgdlawfirm.com

Frank M. Reilly

Potts & Reilly, L.L.P.

P.O. Box 4037

Horseshoe Bay, TX 78657

(512) 469-7474

reilly@pottsreilly.com

Counsel for Defendant Steve Munisteri

James A. Babb

1308 Piney Woods

Friendswood, TX 77546

Pro Se

David Schenck

Matthew Frederick

Angela V. Colmenero

Ana M. Jordan

David Mattax

Office of the Attorney General

P.O. Box 12548, Capitol Station

Austin, TX 78711

(512) 936-1342

david.schenck@oag.state.tx.us

matthew.frederick@oag.state.tx.us

angela.colmenero@oag.state.tx.us

ana.jordan@oag.state.tx.us

david.mattax@oag.state.tx.us

Counsel for Defendants State of Texas and

Rick Perry

Ned Bennet Sandlin

Texas Municipal League

1821 Rutherford Lane, Suite 400

Austin, TX 78754

(512) 231-7400

bennett@tml.org

Counsel for Movant Texas Municipal

League

 

5

Hector De Leon

Benjamin S. De Leon

De Leon & Washburn, P.C.

901 S. Mopac, Suite 230

Austin, TX 78746

(512) 478-5308

hdeleon@dwlawtx.com

bdeleon@dwlawtx.com

Eric Christopher Opiela

Eric Opiela PLLC

1122 Colorado St., Suite 2301

Austin, TX 78701

(512) 791-6336

eopiela@ericopiela.com

Christopher K. Gober

Gober Hilgers Pllc

3101 Cedar Springs Rd., Suite 1050

Dallas, TX 75201

(214) 842-6829

cgober@goberhilgers.com

James Edwin Trainor, III

Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, L.L.P

401 W. 15th Street, Suite 845

Austin, TX 78701

(512) 623-6700

ttrainor@bmpllp.com

JOSEPH M. NIXON

Beirne Maynard & Parsons LLP

1300 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 2500

Houston, TX 77056

(713) 871-6809

jnixon@bmpllp.com

Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenor Joe Barton

and Movants Francisco Canseco et al.

CLARKSON F. BROWN

Bexar County District Attorney’s Office,

101 W Nueva, Suite 5049

San Antonio, TX 78205

(210) 335-2150

clarkb@bexar.org

Counsel for Amicus Curiae Bexar County

/s/ Daniel J. Freeman

DANIEL J. FREEMAN

Attorney, Voting Section

Civil Rights Division

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20530

(202) 305-4143

daniel.freeman@usdoj.gov

 

Updated February 2, 2017