Late Tuesday night, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 split temporarily blocked a lower court ruling striking down Texas’ legislative maps as unconstitutionally gerrymandered. The court’s four progressive justices dissented, but were outvoted by the more conservative majority.
Earlier this year, a three-judge panel of a federal district court in Texas found Texas guilty of drawing the maps for their state legislative and congressional districts so that voters of color had less electoral power, making it easier to keep the state under Republican control.
“The record indicates not just a hostility toward Democrat districts, but a hostility to minority districts, and a willingness to use race for partisan advantage,” the district judges wrote.
The state of Texas sought emergency relief at the Supreme Court to proceed with the current district maps in preparing for the 2018 elections. Justice Samuel Alito (pictured above) sided with the state’s Republican leaders.
The Supreme Court court will fully consider the constitutionality of the maps at a later date, but the temporary stay of the lower court ruling makes it more likely that the racially gerrymandered districts will be used for the 2018 election.