WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Texas state senators Roland Gutierrez (D) and Sarah Eckhardt (D) and Tejano Democrats, a political organization focused on voter education and advocacy for Mexican American voters and candidates, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the state’s legislative districts and upcoming reapportionment plans. Governor Greg Abbott (R) has signaled his intent to call a special session for reapportionment in mid-September, according to the complaint. The plaintiffs allege that conducting reapportionment during a special — rather than regular — legislative session violates the Texas Constitution. However, since the current state legislative maps are malapportioned in violation of the 14th Amendment’s “one person, one vote” principle and the Texas Legislature will not have a regular legislative session until January 2023, the plaintiffs ask that the court draw new districts in time for the 2022 election cycle.
In a press release about the lawsuit, Sen. Gutierrez stated that the “Texas Constitution is as clear as it can be: first, the Census is published, then Legislature must consider apportionment in the regular session following publication…The Governor decided unilaterally that he can ignore the Texas Constitution any time it is convenient, but when it comes to how our legislative districts will look for the next ten years, we’re putting our foot down.” The release of census data was delayed this year and was published after Texas’ regular legislative session ended.