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SCOTUS blocks lower court redrawing Texas redistricting maps again, so what’s next?

SCOTUS blocks lower court redrawing Texas redistricting maps again, so what’s next?

5-4 split

Texas’ Congressional and state legislative district maps have been bouncing around the federal court system for months. Tuesday, the Supreme Court blocked an order from the lower court that required new maps redrawn.

Redrawing maps would create new districts and ultimately favor Democrats in upcoming elections.

At the heart of the district maps battle are allegations that maps drawn after the 2010 census were essentially racist and thus unconstitutional and contradictory to the Voting Rights Act.

The New York Times has the breakdown:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked rulings from a federal court in Texas that had called for revisions to congressional and state legislative districts in the state after the court found that the districts violated the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.

The Supreme Court’s brief order, in a long-running dispute over legislative maps drawn after the 2010 census, made it more likely that the 2018 election will be held using maps rejected by a three-judge panel of the Federal District Court for the Western District of Texas, in San Antonio. The Supreme Court’s order will remain in place while it considers the state’s appeal.

The vote was 5 to 4 and divided along ideological lines, with the court’s more conservative members in the majority.

The court in San Antonio had ruled that a congressional district including Corpus Christi denied Hispanic voters “their opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice.” The court rejected a second congressional district stretching from San Antonio to Austin, saying that race had been the primary factor in drawing it.

In a separate decision, the court found similar flaws in several state legislative districts.

There was an odd wrinkle in the case: The Texas court itself had for the most part endorsed the maps in 2012, after the Supreme Court rejected earlier ones and told the court to try again. The 2012 maps, the panel later said, had been considered in haste in advance of pending elections. In 2013, the Texas Legislature decided not to draw new maps and instead mostly adopted the one drawn by the court in San Antonio.

So what’s next? Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog explain:

In two orders, with all of the conservative Republican-appointed Justices voting in favor and all the liberal Democratic-appointed Justices opposed, the Supreme Court put on hold a lower court order for Texas to redraw congressional and state house district lines to cure voting rights problems. The lower court had found that some of the districts were drawn with a racially discriminatory intent, some were drawn with a racially discriminatory effect, and some were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. Had the lower court order been put into effect, there would have been some new districts (which would have benefitted Democratic and minority voters in Texas) for the 2018 elections. Now, it is unlikely that such a remedy could be in place before 2020, the last elections before the next round of redistricting.

Texas’s request was early—the lower court had not even drawn the district lines yet, and so the Supreme Court’s involvement now is somewhat aggressive (on the other hand, if the 5 Justice majority knew where it was going to go, why prolong the uncertainty?).

What this means is that the 5 conservative Justices, including Justice Kennedy, are sufficiently confident that Texas could win this case (or that the plaintiffs won’t suffer that much harm to have another election under unconstitutional and illegal lines) to grant this stay.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye

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Comments

I long for the retirement of Ginsberg and Breyer, and the advent of the 7-2 era.

    Stan25 in reply to MTED. | September 13, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    I am thinking the only way Ginsburg will leave the bench is feet first. The same with Breyer.

      Tom Servo in reply to Stan25. | September 13, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      Well it’s only a matter of time, and Ginsburg already looks like a cast member of a certain popular AMC series.

      Imagine if Clinton had won. Not only would we have Merrick Garland, but Ginsberg and Breyer would have announced their retirements the day after Election Day. We’d have 3 new leftist Justices now.

      Rick the Curmudgeon in reply to Stan25. | September 13, 2017 at 11:31 pm

      She’ll only leave after her clerks have been caught playing “Weekend at Bernie’s” with her long enough for body parts to start falling off.

Democrats have banked heavily on having the SCOTUS break down what they see as their greatest (in a long list of greatest) hope for “progress” … gerrymandering.

This ruling seems to leave them with just hope and nothing more.

    ConradCA in reply to Neo. | September 13, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    If the Progressive Fascists are so against gerrymandering then they should stop doing it in the slave states that they control. California, New York, etc.

    Aarradin in reply to Neo. | September 14, 2017 at 4:42 am

    Democrats support the VRA which absolutely REQUIRES an extreme amount of Gerrymandering in order to create, and maintain, “majority -minority” districts.

    Look at ANY state’s districts, if it has any VRA districts, and you’ll instantly see that by far the most gerrymandered is the VRA district – which exists for the sole purpose of guaranteeing a D Congressman.

If there’s anything to divine from this, I think it’s a safe guess that the Wisconsin redistricting lawsuit is going to fail, 5-4.

“What this means is that the 5 conservative Justices, including Justice Kennedy, are sufficiently confident that Texas could win this case (or that the plaintiffs won’t suffer that much harm to have another election under unconstitutional and illegal lines)

The Election blog is obviously Left; the writer assumes what hasn’t been proven.

This is all about Democrats finding Federal Judges to do what they cannot do. This Federal Judge should be impeached. She is clearly a partisan hack. But that will not ever happen, so we’ll get case after case after case because the Judiciary is the only avenue the Democrats have.. and they are even losing that. MAGA.

VRA REQUIRES gerrymandered districts specifically for RACIAL reasons.

If you don’t create enough majority-minority districts, which guarantee Democrat Congressmen, the Democrats sue.

If you do anything that doesn’t favor the Democrats enough, they claim racial bias and sue.

Its absurd.

The VRA itself is blatantly un-Constitutional.

State legislatures have complete authority to draw districts however they please, so long as they comply with the ACTUAL written language of the US Constitution when doing so.

These lawsuits are an abomination.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Aarradin. | September 14, 2017 at 7:00 am

    The VRA is un-Constitutional. So – in my view – is its evil cousin, the 1964 CRA, which among other things turned private property into “public accommodation”.

      OMG, The Friendly Grizzly!!! Thank YOU!!!!
      Please tell me you’re on Gab or Twitter so I can follow you!!!!

      No. Public accommodation jurisprudence predates the Constitution, and was extremely important in colonial law.

      Some of the colonies were downright hostile to others, and that hostility was often quite popular.

      Hence, a commercial traveler from one colony could be denied accommodation in the public houses of a hostile colony out of pure bigotry. This was not just inconvenient, it was life-threatening, and a cause of very apparent impediments to commerce.

      So the jurisprudence of public accommodations was developed, which made a special class of property (which one always chose to operate) subject to some rules.

      Since all Americans have a right to travel, they all should have a right to access the accommodations open to travelers.

      That isn’t hard, and it really isn’t even controversial. What is would be the mindless expansion of these rules to bakeries and florists, etc.

The VRA requires that districts be gerrymandered to assure that minorities have a voice in congress. What are the democrats complaining about…..the GOP followed the VRA?

Connivin Caniff | September 14, 2017 at 10:14 am

It is bittersweet. Gerrymandering is a great contributor to the perpetuation of the swamp critters.

Perhaps SCOTUS is getting tired at last of federal district court level judges in forum shopping lawsuits ruling on the constitution. It seems any federal district judge can stop laws and executive and legislative actions by writing a sociological, not a legal, opinion. These judges are making law, not interpreting it. Perhaps SCOTUS should caution federal district judges in a SCOTUS opinion that they are to exercise restraint in finding laws and executive actions unconstitutional. That type of decision should come from the Circuits and the Supreme Court level.

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