Jun 2, 2022 - News

GOP lawmakers forced to testify in redistricting discrimination suit

Merrick Garland and a flag

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the suit against Texas in December. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Three Republican state legislators will have to provide depositions related to the Department of Justice's lawsuit against Texas over the latest statewide redistricting maps.

Driving the news: The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request from the state to shield state Reps. Ryan Guillen, Brooks Landgraf and John Lujan from testifying about the state's redistricting process.

Why it matters: The Biden administration and voting rights groups claim the new maps that were drawn up last year violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by intentionally discriminating against non-white voters in West Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Yes, but: Texas Republicans say the new maps are fair and hope this case might lead to a change in federal voting laws.

What they're saying: In their application to the high court, attorneys for the lawmakers claim they have "legislative immunity."

  • "The legislators' depositions will probe the very innerworkings of the legislative process, examining the legislators' thoughts, impressions, and motivations for their legislative acts," Taylor A.R. Meehan, an attorney with Consovoy McCarthy, wrote in the suit.

The other side: U.S. solicitor general Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in the government's opposition brief that this type of compelled testimony is routine.

Of note: The justices rejected the shield attempt in a one-line order with no explanation or dissent.

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