AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Monday filed a motion with a panel of three federal judges, asking it to stay all candidate filing deadlines in a challenge to new redistricting maps drawn by the court.
On Saturday, Abbott's office said it was seeking "immediate clarification" from the panel in San Antonio regarding the candidate filing period for the 2012 state Senate, state House of Representatives and U.S. House of Representatives elections.
Currently, the deadline for those candidates to file for office is Thursday.
The Attorney General's Office also said it would file a motion Monday with the panel asking it to stay "all deadlines and requirements governing candidate filing and administration" of next year's elections until further order by the panel or the U.S. Supreme Court.
"This request furthers the Texas Attorney General's stated goals of reducing uncertainty surrounding Texas' 2012 elections and protecting the integrity of Texas elections," Abbott's office said in a statement over the weekend.
Abbott said neither the State's request for a stay of the filing deadlines nor the stay issued Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court relate to or delay the filing periods or elections for any other office. Only the state Senate and House and U.S. House elections are affected, he said.
Late Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the attorney general's request for an emergency stay, temporarily blocking the redistricting maps drawn by the three-judge panel.
According to the Court's one-page order, oral arguments are set for Jan. 9.
Abbott filed the emergency stay with the nation's high court late last month.
He alleges that the redistricting panel "improperly rejected the will of the elected legislature" and redrew the state's House and Senate districts "without regard to any established legal or constitutional principles."
He contends the elections should not proceed based on "legally flawed maps that are likely to be overturned on further review."
Ultimately, the State is hoping the U.S. Supreme Court will do away with the court-ordered maps and instead uphold its own legislature's plans.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.