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.
Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.