Department of Justice officials responded to a letter Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent them this week, calling on the department to stop delaying approval of the original legislative and congressional maps drawn by the Republican-led legislature earlier this year.
“The Department of Justice is committed to resolving this redistricting case ... as quickly and cooperatively as the circumstances permit,” Thomas E. Perez, head of the civil rights division, wrote in a response. “However, to be clear, the state of Texas bears the responsibility for any delays in the preclearance process – by waiting until the end of its legislative session and even into a special session before passing its redistricting plans, by further delay after passage in seeking preclearance and by inexplicable litigation decisions that have slowed the resolution of this matter.”
Perez said in the letter that the department is waiting to see what the U.S. Supreme Court does with requests before them to block the court-drawn maps. Once the court rules, the justice department is “prepared to proceed,” Perez wrote.
-- Anna M. Tinsley