In a ruling on attorney’s fees related to a redistricting case, a Federal Court Judge dealt Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott two doses of humiliation. Aside from ruling in favor of the groups involved for the full amount of nearly $1 million they requested, the opening paragraph of Judge Rosemary M. Collyer’s decision is anything but an endorsement of Abbott’s competence and attitude on this issue.
This matter presents a case study in how not to respond to a motion for attorney fees and costs. … rather than engage the fee applicants, Plaintiff Texas basically ignores the arguments supporting an award of fees and costs. In a three-page filing entitled “Advisory,” Texas trumpets the Supreme Court’s decision, expresses indignation at having to respond at all, and presumes that the motion for attorney fees is so frivolous that Texas need not provide further briefing in opposition unless requested. Such an opposition is insufficient in this jurisdiction. Circuit precedent and the Local Rules of this Court provide that the failure to respond to an opposing party’s arguments results in waiver as to the unaddressed contentions, and the Court finds that Texas’s “Advisory” presents no opposition on the applicable law. Accordingly, the Court will award the requested fees and costs.
One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to understand the Court’s sentiments about Abbott’s conduct in this matter. The fact is Abbott and the Texas GOP beleve they should be free to suppress the votes of racial minorities, women and poor people. They also believe they should be able gerrymander districts so that those who survive the bureaucratic nightmare that goes with voting in Texas will count for as little as possible. They believe it because it’s also the only way their can maintain their choke hold on political power. As great believers in the U.S. constitution, oversight and accountability, Texas Republicans resent the Voting Rights Act because it requires oversight and accountability of states like Texas that have a long history of suppressing votes and violating the one-person one vote principle.
After all, the Texas GOP has been calling for its repeal for years and it plans to reaffirm position as stated on page 11 their 2014 platform “We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965, codified and updated in 1973, be repealed and not reauthorized.”
The fact that Texas violated the Voting Rights Act with its redistricting efforts in 2011 proves the VRA remains necessary to protect the voting rights of Texans from their state’s Attorney-General and his political ambitions. Texas is also one reason that Congress should get moving on an updated pre-clearance formula that has been languishing because of Republican obstructionism since January this year. Fortunately, hearings on the proposed law will occur next Wednesday.
This case is the latest confirmation that, if elected, Abbott has no desire to represent the interests and concerns of all Texas. He already proved that his priority is to care about the interests of his financial backers above those of Texas cancer victims. His education policy proves that his priority is to restrict access to education based on standardized tests for four year olds.
If elected, Greg Abbott would be the same arrogant and incompetent man he is in the courtroom, as governor.
Image: Lonestar Project