Yesterday, the Mississippi Republican Party and Gov. Haley Barbour filed responses in opposition to the NAACP's request for an injunction that would prevent elections this fall under the current maps. Here they are:
MSGOP's Response in Opposition to a Preliminary Injunction
Haley Barbour's Response in Opposition to a Preliminary Injunction
Both Barbour and the GOP say the Court should draw new maps, which is a break from the argument Secretary of State Hosemann is making. However, they both argue that the Court should hold off on entering a preliminary injunction, saying that it is speculative to assert that the Court will have time to draw new legislative district maps. The assertion that the Court will have such time is one that I believe to be well-founded, especially given the Watkins v. Mabus decision.
Once again, Republican parties in NAACP v. Haley Barbour, et al. are selectively reading and quoting the Watkins opinion. In Watkins, the Court was mere days away from the filing deadline, approximately one month from party primaries, and 90 days from the general election. We are currently 47 days away from the filing deadline, and 109 days away from the scheduled party primaries. We are 207 days from the general election. A preliminary injunction would focus the efforts of the parties and create less, not more voter and candidate confusion. More than sufficient time exists for the Court to draw a plan, and, barring something unforeseen, the Court will do so.
Now, here's what's going on behind the scenes: Barbour and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant are barely holding onto a majority of senators. In fact, they are close to facing an announcement that a majority of senators have reached an agreement with the House on new maps. If that were to happen, then Barbour would be forced to either call a special session and allow the legislature to pass new maps or be the only person responsible for the deadlock and litigation. Barbour won't likely die in that ditch. Barbour and Bryant are holding onto the majority of senators by selling them the idea that they'll just run under their current districts this year, and draw new lines next year. Barbour and Bryant fear that an injunction from the Court will push senators over the edge into compromise, and that's why you're seeing the opposition to the injunction.