Supreme Court Tosses Out Court Drawn Texas Redistricting Maps

January 20, 2012 6:32 a.m.
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The Supreme Court on Friday tossed out an interim Texas redistricting map drawn by a federal court, handing a partial victory to Republicans in Texas. The decision on whether the maps are discriminatory or if they should be precleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is still up to a separate panel of judges in federal court in D.C.

“Speaking non-technically, the Supreme Court held that the three-judge court erred in starting its redistricting plan from scratch,” law professor Rick Hasen explained. “It should have started with the state’s plan, and then adjusted to the extent the plan violated the Voting Rights Act or the Constitution.”

The District Court, according to the Supreme Court decision, “also appears to have unnecessarily ignored the State’s plans in drawing certain individual districts.” Oral arguments for the case were heard earlier this month.The decision instructed the Texas panel to go back to the drawing board as a separate cause unfolds in D.C. court, leaving the state of Texas’ primary schedule very much up in the air.

Justice Department officials have taken the position that Texas’ redistricting maps don’t reflect the growth of Hispanic population of the state.

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