Supreme Court Blocks Challenge to Texas Redistricting

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, center, makes comments during a news conference as Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, left, listens, Wednesday, June 22, 2017, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, center, makes comments during a news conference as Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, left, listens, Wednesday, June 22, 2017, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Yesteday, the Supreme Court blocked a ruling from three judges in Texas that invalidated two Congressional districts as un-Constitutional. The vote was 5-4.

This is the background.

Texas has been embroiled in six years of litigation over the congressional districts drawn after the 2010 Census.

A federal court invalidated two of Texas’ congressional districts on Tuesday, concluding that they violated the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting power of minorities.

In a 107-page ruling — part of a long-running legal battle — a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas found that District 27, which includes Corpus Christi, had been drawn to deny voters in a heavily Hispanic county “their opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice,” and that race had been the primary factor in drawing District 35, a narrow strip that stretches from San Antonio to Austin.

The judges, however, upheld the validity of other districts, including ones that had been challenged in Houston and in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

The panel, in San Antonio, ruled that state officials had adopted the map in question in 2013 as part of a deliberate strategy to maintain “discrimination or unconstitutional effects” while preventing voters from challenging those effects. If Texas legislators do not begin a redistricting process, the court will hold a hearing on Sept. 5 to discuss remedies.


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed and Justice Alito halted the order for redistricting.

In a one-sentence order issued this afternoon, Justice Samuel Alito blocked an order by a federal district court in Texas that had invalidated two congressional districts in that state. Officials in Texas had asked the district court to put its order on hold to give it time to appeal to the Supreme Court, but the lower court had declined to do so. Last week state officials went to the Supreme Court, where they found a more sympathetic audience in Alito, who handles emergency appeals from the geographic area that includes Texas.

Today’s order – which came from Alito himself, rather than the full nine-member court – relieves the state of its obligation to comply with the deadlines imposed by the district court. Instead, Alito instructed the challengers to respond to the state’s request by the afternoon of September 5; the order indicates that the district court’s order will remain on hold until the response is received and either the Supreme Court or he takes further action on the state’s request.

And the Supreme Court spoke:

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.


Two things to keep in mind here. The idea of “minority-majority” districts is simply a racist idea that has been used by Democrats and Republicans to create a political spoils system for minority politicians. The second point is that courts are increasingly saying that party=race and so a map that would be completely legal if it were all white suddenly becomes illegal because of the degree to which black voters are in thrall to the Democrat party.

The Democrats are carrying out a concentrated attack on redistricting because they hold a distinct minority of state houses and governor’s mansions and have been on the losing end too often. So they are attacking the process at every point. The Texas case uses race, there is a case in Wisconsin that tries to ensure districts mirror the voter make-up of the state. Essentially, the Wisconsin case tries to make party registration an impermissible criteria in redistricting…while keeping race and ethnicity.

The only legal consideration in constructing districts should be ‘one-man-one-vote.’ Beyond that it is a political and a partisan issue.


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