Texas GOP aide warned of ‘really bad’ judges in redistricting memo

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 13:38 EDT
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A view of the capitol building in Austin, Texas. Photo: Flickr user JD Hancock.
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During a court hearing in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, an attorney for Texas Democrats who are opposing a voting district map redrawn by Republicans revealed an email from a key GOP staffer who proposed an alternative strategy for pushing the map through if it ended up going before “a really bad panel” of judges.

Attorney Gerry Herbert, who represents state Sen. Wendy David (D-Forth Worth), told the court that the email is proof that Republicans knew their voting map is discriminatory, insisting that “really bad” actually refers to Democratic or minority judges, according to McClatchy Newspapers.

The memo was authored last June by Gerardo Interiano, council to Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss (R) and a key player in the party’s redistricting efforts. It was first obtained by Hebert after a panel of judges ordered Republicans to release a trove of emails related to redistricting talks.

In the memo, Interiano proposes asking Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) for a special session to rework the map if unfriendly judges were chosen to hear legal challenges against it.

McClatchy noted that Republican state Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) was in the courtroom on Tuesday when the memo was revealed, and he insisted that the idea of a special session to avoid bad judges was “never” discussed by Republicans.

A panel of judges in San Antonio ultimately drew their own map to better represent minority and Democratic constituencies, but it was recently rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. A legal battle over the map is still ongoing.

Photo: Flickr user JD Hancock.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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