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SCOTUS Rejects Texas Court Redistricting Map

SCOTUS Rejects Texas Court Redistricting Map

In less than two weeks after hearing arguments, on Friday the Supreme Court instructed a lower court in Texas to take another look at election maps it had drawn in place of competing maps from the Texas Legislature.

The two competing set of maps set out the boundaries of election districts in Texas for the State Legislature and the House of Representatives on the basis of the most recent 10-year census. One set of maps was drawn by the Legislature, which is currently controlled by Republicans. Not surprisingly, those maps were gerrymandered to favor Republican candidates.

But another set of maps was drawn by a special three-judge federal court in San Antonio once the Republican maps were rejected. The maps drawn by the courts increases the voting power of Latino voters and seems to help Democratic candidates.

Officials in Texas had asked the Supreme Court to block the judge-drawn maps, arguing they did not give enough deference to the Legislature. The justices agreed, holding the lower court had not paid enough deference to the Legislature’s choices and had improperly substituted its own values for those of elected officials.

Resolution of the boundaries will impact as many as four seats to the House of Representatives. Primaries in Texas have already been moved back to April to try and give this matter enough time to be resolved.

Because Texas is one of the states with a history on intentional voter discrimination against minorities, it falls under the jurisdiction of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That means these proposed changes also need approval from either the Department of Justice or a special court in Washington. That approval has not yet come and is not likely given the lengths to which Republicans went to try and increase their hold on power in the state.

That means the state of Texas and the redistricting panel must move quickly to create and adopt a redistricting plan that meets the federal preclearance mandate and can pass in the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature. And that means this fight is far from over.

Related Stories:

SCOTUS To Weigh In On Texas Redistricting

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Photo from hjl via flickr.

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41 comments

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8:46AM PST on Jan 28, 2012

Republicans in Texas used redistricting to reflect only Republican vote. A Democrat in this state really has no voice! Its been this way for several years now and that is why the Tea Party has moved here! I used to love Texas, but if we could sell our house, we would move out of here in a flash! I write my congressman and all he does is send back a letter telling me how he (his party) is going to vote! Doesn't matter what I care about! I can only hope we keep them out of the presidency! I don't want to go back to the Republican philosophy displayed during the Bush Administration!

9:28PM PST on Jan 21, 2012

Well, at least the absentee Governor will be returning to his home state now. I guess that leaves just the absentee member of Congress to return to his job of representing his district rather than be spending his time in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

9:16PM PST on Jan 21, 2012

I'm so happy I don't live in that state.

7:36PM PST on Jan 21, 2012

Has fairness and justice escaped these people altogether?
Ehy not just give the design of the map to someone with no dog in this fight and a better understanding of how it should be.. like a monkey.

4:41PM PST on Jan 21, 2012

There are so many issues, regarding our Supreme Court, that they had better be concerned that major changes could occur in their appointments.

2:50PM PST on Jan 21, 2012

What did you ezpect from a Republican Supreme Court. Fairness. HA.

1:33PM PST on Jan 21, 2012

Political in-fighting and an unwillingness to work collaboratively together in the best interests of the nation and its people will ultimately lead to an undesirable change in our form of government in the U.S.

1:11PM PST on Jan 21, 2012

The right to vote is A serious right that the people cannot afford to lose. Messing with the districts is a desperate republican strategy to discriminate angainst anyone who might vote against them. Fortunately, they have ALL made such asses of themselves, along with the psycho-pseudo Christians(?), they are managing to vote for Obama themselves.

11:57AM PST on Jan 21, 2012

are republicains going doing things we may not know with ballots like they didt to give busch a stolen win on al gore and a stolen win on kerry,never again we take this,vote democrats and obama

10:39AM PST on Jan 21, 2012

Well... I would say that if SCOTUS rejected the Texas Court redistricting map, perhaps it had good reason, no?

Perhaps it was that "gerrymandering" to favor Democrats that did it?

Amazing how liberals with blinkers never manage to see Democrat "gerrymandering", but somehow believe that everything Republicans do is "gerrymandered"!

And why would we want to increase the voting power of Latino voters? Would that be so that all those "undocumented" Democrats can vote?

I don't see the need to increase the voting power of Latinos that are LEGAL American citizens, do you?

They can vote Democrat or Republican no matter where they live.

Let's talk about liberal Democrats and "gerrymandering", why don't we?

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