The US Supreme Court Tuesday rejected three Texas legislators’ emergency application to stay depositions that they are scheduled to give in redistricting lawsuits filed by multiple plaintiffs, including the US Department of Justice. This means their depositions will go forward in the various lawsuits that aim to block Texas’s redistricting legislation.
According to the application, the Texas legislators “were involuntarily subpoenaed as third parties in the consolidated district court actions.” Ten lawsuits were brought “to rejoin redistricting legislation in Texas” on the grounds that the Article I of the US Constitution shields legislators from being compelled to testify on parliamentary matters. A three-judge district court panel ordered the legislators “to sit for depositions, over the legislators’ invocation of legislative immunity and privilege.” Further, a court order mandates the legislators “to answer every question posed to them irrespective of legislative privilege objections[.]”
The legislators then sought the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s review. However, depositions were set to begin on May 27, before any appeal resolution could occur. Therefore, the legislators requested the US Supreme Court to grant an emergency stay of the depositions, which will postpone the legislators’ depositions “pending the forthcoming clarification of the metes and bounds of redistricting” claims.
Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar filed a memorandum with the US Supreme Court declaring the the Justice Department’s intent to depose the three legislators.