Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

May 24, 2011

Barton files suit here with national impact

Corsicana — District Judge James Lagomarsino has small children, so he wasn’t asleep at midnight Saturday when the congressman’s people came to his door wanting to file a lawsuit at precisely 12:01 a.m. Sunday morning.

“We filed it in Navarro County because (Joe Barton) wanted it to be done in our district,” explained Sean Brown, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis. “From what I understand, he filed it when he did at 12:01 Sunday morning because it was clear the state legislature was not going to be able to meet his deadline for getting a map done. So one of the reasons he did that was to protect the constitutional rights of his constituents and all voters in Texas.”

What expired Saturday was the chance to get a bill on the agenda to be acted on in the Texas legislature before the end of the session on Monday. A redistricting committee has been working on the new maps since January, but the disputes weren’t resolved in time. There is an opportunity for a special session, which would extend to the end of June and allow 30 more days for the legislature to finish its work on the budget and redistricting, but that has to be called by the governor, who hasn’t said whether or not he will call one.

Brown said Barton welcomes that.

“The lawsuit doesn’t preclude the governor  from calling a special session and, in fact, Rep. Barton thinks this is an issue that should be solved legislatively,” Brown said. “The lawsuit is a backup plan in case the legislature doesn’t act.”

The lawsuit points out that the current congressional district map is seven years old and doesn’t include the four new congressional seats awarded as a result of the 2010 census, and that to use the old map violates the one-man, one-vote rule asserted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

It asks the court to declare the old map a violation of the law, forbid using the old map, impose a new map and pay for the plaintiff’s attorney fees and lawsuit expenses.

However, while the suit asks that the court impose a new congressional district map, a proposed district map was not included in the petition.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has reported that the Barton dispute is over Hispanic representation. In an article by Dave Montgomery, the Star-Telegram reported that fellow Congressman Lamar Smith, a Republican from San Antonio, has submitted a proposed redistricting map with two new Hispanic-dominant districts in North and Central Texas, which would likely go to Democrats.

Barton’s staff prefers that the new districts favor Republicans. Complicating the issue is that Texas falls into a group of Southern states whose redistricting maps have to be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, a measure put in to prevent racial gerrymandering, which discriminates against minority groups.

Every 10 years, the U.S. government takes a census of the nation and apportions the congressional seats according to where the population has grown. States like Texas that grow in population gain congressional seats. Once the state knows how many seats it will have, then it has to redraw the districts for the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate, and the Texas seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

When the Texas legislature redrew the map in 2003 in a controversial triple-special-session marathon to benefit Republicans, it flipped the balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives from Democratic to Republican. The machinations behind the redistricting also landed the U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay in prison.

Lagomarsino said he wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit, but he did confirm that it was filed just after midnight Sunday morning.

“I was already up. I’m up all the time with the children,” he said. “They did file a petition. The rules do allow it. I had to look it up myself. It says they can file it with the judge if the clerk is not available.”

As for how Lagomarsino should decide a case with national implications, he didn’t comment.

“It will be decided here like any other lawsuit,” he said.

—————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

 

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • 4-16-14 WestCenter.jpg Remembering West: Ceremony to mark first anniversary

    In April 2013, the city of West was forever changed after an explosion at a fertilizer plant killed 15 people and altered the landscape of the tiny Texas town. A year after that deadly blast, the city will stop to remember that fateful day and pay tribute to those who were lost, including Navarro County firefighter Perry Calvin, one of the first responders killed by the blast.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Navarro College seeks public input at Town Hall event

    Community perception of the role Navarro College plays, and how it can better serve Corsicana and Navarro County is the goal of a Town Hall meeting called at the college for Monday, April 21. The town hall presentation will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Dr. Richard M. Sanchez Library on the Corsicana campus.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-16-14 DowntownHop.jpg Annual 'Hop Downtown' Easter party Thursday

    The Easter Bunny will once again be making its annual pre-Easter stop in Corsicana Thursday for an appearance at the Downtown Corsicana “Hop Downtown” party. The event is taking place from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. with activities up and down Beaton Street in downtown Corsicana.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16-14 Derrick Days meeting.jpg Countdown to Derrick Days

    A small town hosting a big event like Derrick Days takes a lot of volunteers, coordination and details — lots and lots of details. That's what Tuesday's meeting of the Derrick Days Committee consisted of, nailing down the last-minute wrinkles to make sure things run smoothly next week.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police advise caution with roof repair

    After the hail storm Monday, the Corsicana Police Department began receiving several calls from citizens reporting roofing contractors going door to door soliciting to inspect and repair roofs from possible hail damage.

    April 15, 2014

  • Moment of silence marks Boston Marathon bombings

    Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed came together Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing with solemn ceremonies.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-15-14 TaxDay.jpg Ready for the IRS?

    The calendar shows April 15, and you haven't even started on your federal tax return? Chances are, you don't need to fret. If you're due a refund — and about three-fourths of filers get refunds — April 15 isn't much of a deadline at all.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-15-14 Hail6.jpg ‘All Hail Corsicana’ - Monday storms, Tuesday freeze?

    A Monday morning thunderstorm in the aftermath of Sunday's stormy weather in Texas brought hail up to golf ball in size to parts of Navarro County. And that storm — typical of spring and summertime weather in Texas — preceded by less than 24 hours a forecast of expected near-freezing temperatures.

    April 14, 2014 3 Photos

  • City OK’s electronic billboard

    The Corsicana City Council is going to tell the city's story in a big, big way — on a 48 foot wide electronic billboard on Interstate 45. The council approved the purchase and construction of the new sign Monday, one that will help promote city events and attractions, and hopefully attract visitors — and their dollars — to the city's businesses and events.

    April 14, 2014

  • 4-15-14 Hollomon award.jpg Funding sought to upgrade dam on Chatfield Road

    The Navarro County Soil Conservation Commission is seeking some funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to put into a dam out on Chatfield Road, according to a vote taken Monday at the Navarro County Commissioners meeting.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo