Texas Congressional Map Comes Under Supreme Court Scrutiny

Texas Congressional Map Comes Under Supreme Court Scrutiny

Texas Congressional Map Comes Under Supreme Court Scrutiny

This Texas redistricting case, which advocates successfully argued in lower courts, proves that state legislative and congressional maps in Texas were drawn with the intention of discriminating against African-American and Latino voters.

Keller and Kneedler both also faced questions about why Texas took the case to the Supreme Court before the lower court had even issued an injunction.

"In 2012, a 9-0 U.S. Supreme Court ordered the U.S. District Court in San Antonio to draw interim maps "that do not violate the Constitution or the Voting Rights Act.' The Supreme Court repeated that command to draw lawful maps six times in its opinion".

The court concluded that Texas' adoption of the interim maps was part of "a litigation strategy created to insulate the 2011 or 2013 plans from further challenge, regardless of their legal infirmities".

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"The district court in Texas trampled on law and logic alike in order to wrest from the people of Texas their authority - through their duly elected representatives - to control their legislative districts". That's when the state's Republican-led legislature re-drew the maps. "Now, if we're going to call that a grant of an injunction, we're going to hear 50,000 appeals".

Liberal justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor suggested Texas was still trying to avoid drawing districts with no racial taint.

That question was not in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday, but the challengers plan to use this case to ask the district court to put Texas back under pre-clearance under the VRA's Section 3, which allows states and jurisdictions to be "bailed in" if they are found to have acted with intent to discriminate against minority voters.

If the judges side with the Texas lawmakers and voting rights groups that challenged the state's map, it could trigger a redrawing of congressional districts. The state argues since lawmakers adopted maps drawn by the court, they aren't discriminatory. The court proceedings that would follow that decision would nearly certainly set up a return trip to Washington before the case is eventually resolved. Because of this action, the high court's ruling will likely not affect this year's elections.

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In their pointed brief, those challenging the maps described the Legislature's 2013 adoption of the temporary maps as "a ruse", a "shellgame strategy" and a devious "smokescreen" meant to obscure lawmakers' discriminatory intentions behind the state's original 2011 map.

"What does the piece of paper say here?" Justice Kagan asked if that would still be an issue if the court had given Texas three weeks.

Chief Justice Roberts said Texas has a "strong argument" that the new maps were adopted in large part to bring an end to long-running litigation over whether the maps were discriminatory.

Edwin Kneedler, the US deputy solicitor general arguing on the side of Texas, took issue with the district court giving Texas only three days to decide if it would call a special legislature to try to fix its maps. As to the merits meanwhile, Austin attorney Renea Hicks said the Texas legislature knew just what it was doing when it approved a map so similar to its own, and "achieved everything they wanted" by adopting the court's plan.

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"If you're the Attorney General or - or the - the legislature in Texas and you want to take your best shot at a plan that will be accepted by the district court, wouldn't you take the plan that the district court drafted?"

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