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Case Name Texas v. United States VR-DC-1168
Docket / Court 1:11-cv-01303 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Case Summary
On July 19, 2011, the state of Texas filed suit against the United States in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The state asked for a declaratory judgment, alleging that the Department of Justice inappropriately declared Texas's new ... read more >
On July 19, 2011, the state of Texas filed suit against the United States in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The state asked for a declaratory judgment, alleging that the Department of Justice inappropriately declared Texas's new districting plan to be retrogressive (that is, discriminatory, because it diluted minority voting power). Arguments focused primarily on the demographics of the state of Texas and its new districting map. On November 8, 2011, the District Court (Judge Thomas Griffith) denied Texas's motion for summary judgment, holding that Texas improperly relied solely on demographic data in formulating its plans and that there were genuine issues of material fact (2011 WL 5402888 and 831 F.Supp.2d 244).

On August 28, 2012, the District Court held that Texas had not met its burden of showing that the new U.S. Congressional and state House plans were not retrogressive or its burden of proving that its U.S. Congressional and State Senate plans were not enacted with a discriminatory purpose, and therefore denied declaratory judgment (887 F.Supp.2d 133). Texas sought review in the Supreme Court, and the case was held while the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act was under review in Shelby County v. Holder.

On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court held in the Shelby County case that the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional in part -- striking down Section 4 of the Act, the "coverage" provision, which controlled which jurisdictions were obligated to seek DOJ preclearance of voting-related changes. The next day, the Court vacated the opinion in this case and remanded the case to the District Court for the District of Columbia (133 S.Ct. 2885).

On July 3, 2013, Texas moved to dismiss as moot all claims brought in its original complaint. It advanced two arguments in support of dismissal. First, on June 23, 2013, while Texas's appeal was pending and before the Supreme Court had announced its decision in Shelby County, the Texas legislature adopted a new set of redistricting plans that replaced those challenged in this case. Second, Shelby County (which held the VRA's coverage formula unconstitutional) had removed Texas from the preclearance regime of Section 5. Texas argued that these two factors had mooted it claims. On December 3, 2013, a three-judge panel for the District Court for the District of Columbia (Judge Thomas B. Griffith writing for the Court) agreed that the controversy had been mooted, and dismissed all claims. Mem. & Order, Dec. 3, 2013.

On December 17, 2013, several parties (individual voters, elected state representatives, and civil rights advocacy groups) who had intervened as defendants earlier in the litigation moved for attorney fees and costs totaling $1,096,770.01. The intervenors argued that they were prevailing parties and thus entitled to fees and costs under the VRA-specifically, under § 1973l(e) of the VRA, 42 U.S.C. § 1973l(e), and subsection (b) of 42 U.S.C. § 1988. These sections allow courts to, at their discretion, award the prevailing party reasonable fees and costs if the underlying action was to enforce the voting guarantees of the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

On June 18, 2014, the District Court (Judge Rosemary M. Collyer) granted the intervenors' motion for attorney fees and costs in full. Texas v. United States, Civil Action No. 11-1303 (RMC), 2014 WL 2758597, at *11 (D.D.C. June 18, 2014). Describing the issue as a "case study in how not to respond to a motion for attorney fees and costs," id. at *1, Judge Rosemary chastised Texas for failing to respond-other than by means of a three-page "Advisory" filing-to the intervenors' motion. Finding that Texas's "Advisory" filing presented no substantive legal opposition, the Court thus granted the motion.

On July 16, 2014, Texas appealed the order granting attorney fees to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The June 18 order has been stayed pending this appeal. As of October 27, 2014, this appeal is still pending.

Jonathan Forman - 06/30/2013
Greg in den Berken - 10/27/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Voting
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Race
Black
Voting
Redistricting/district composition
Vote dilution
Causes of Action Voting Rights Act, section 5, 42 U.S.C. § 1973c
Defendant(s) United States
Plaintiff Description State of Texas, seeking approval for its redistricting plan
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Links Litigation Documents, Texas v. United States
Election Law @ Moritz
By: Moritz College of Law
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:11−cv−01303 (D.D.C.) 07/16/2014
VR-DC-1168-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory Judgment Pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Request for Three-Court Judge 07/19/2011 (2011 WL 2883549)
VR-DC-1168-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 08/16/2011 (D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 09/08/2011 (D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 10/07/2011 (D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 11/08/2011 (2011 WL 5402888) (D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 12/22/2011 (831 F.Supp.2d 244) (D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 08/28/2012 (887 F.Supp.2d 133) (D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment 08/28/2012 (D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Appeal to Supreme Court 10/19/2012
VR-DC-1168-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supreme Court Order [Vacating Judgment and Remanding Case for Further Consideration in Light of Shelby County v. Holder] 07/29/2013 (133 S.Ct. 2885)
VR-DC-1168-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [Granting Motion to Dismiss Claims] 12/03/2013 (D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Awarding Attorneys' Fees to Applicants] 06/18/2014 (2014 WL 2758597 / 2014 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 82790) (D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Motion for Fees, Expenses, and Costs of Defendants] 06/18/2014 (D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0014.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Collyer, Rosemary M. (FISC, D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0001 | VR-DC-1168-0003 | VR-DC-1168-0004 | VR-DC-1168-0005 | VR-DC-1168-0006 | VR-DC-1168-0007 | VR-DC-1168-0008 | VR-DC-1168-0012 | VR-DC-1168-0013 | VR-DC-1168-0014 | VR-DC-1168-9000
Griffith, Thomas Beall (D.C. Circuit)
VR-DC-1168-0001 | VR-DC-1168-0003 | VR-DC-1168-0004 | VR-DC-1168-0005 | VR-DC-1168-0006 | VR-DC-1168-0007 | VR-DC-1168-0008 | VR-DC-1168-0012 | VR-DC-1168-9000
Howell, Beryl Alaine (D.D.C.)
VR-DC-1168-0001 | VR-DC-1168-0003 | VR-DC-1168-0004 | VR-DC-1168-0005 | VR-DC-1168-0006 | VR-DC-1168-0007 | VR-DC-1168-0008 | VR-DC-1168-0012 | VR-DC-1168-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Colmenero, Angela Veronica (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Frederick, Matthew Hamilton (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Hughes, John M. (Colorado)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Keller, Ashley C (Illinois)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Mattax, David C (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-0002
Mitchell, Jonathan F. (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Mortara, Adam K. (Illinois)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Schenck, David John (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-0002 | VR-DC-1168-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Avila, Joaquin (Washington)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Bledsoe, Gary Lynn (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Bono, Marisa (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Castillo, Jorge Martin (New York)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Couto, Rebecca McNeil (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Devaney, John M. (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Dunn, Chad W. (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Elias, Marc Erik (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Freeman, Daniel J (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Garza, Jose (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Hamilton, Kevin J. (Washington)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Hebert, J. Gerald (Virginia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Hicks, Renea (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Lyznik, Karolina J. (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
McLeod, Michelle Andrea (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Michel, Olimpia E (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Nobile, Thornton Russell (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Notzon, Robert Stephen (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Perales, Nina (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Posner, Mark A. (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Riggs, Allison Jean (North Carolina)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Sells, Bryan L (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Sitton, Janie Allison (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Smith, Paul M. (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Soares, Karen M (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Tanner, John K. (District of Columbia)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Velarde, Ray (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Vera, Luis R. Jr. (Texas)
VR-DC-1168-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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