Supreme Court Rejects Voting Maps Drawn by Judges
The U.S. Supreme Court has made a major ruling in the Texas political dispute over redistricting. The high court has rejected the voting district maps drawn by a federal panel, which favored minority candidates and Democrats in this year's congressional and state legislature elections.
In its first ruling on political boundary-drawing based on the 2010 U.S. Census, the high court unanimously set aside the interim maps created by federal district court judges in San Antonio.
The court said it is unclear whether the judges in Texas followed the appropriate standards, and sent the cases back for further study and proceedings.
At issue were the maps that Texas will use in its primary contests -- that are now set for April 3 -- which will decide party candidates for congressional and state legislature elections in November.
When the Justice Department rejected the maps drawn by the legislature, and after a panel of federal judges redrew the maps, Texas Republican officials appealed to the Supreme Court, saying the lower-court overstepped its authority. They argued the judges should have deferred to the maps drawn by the elected lawmakers.
The Supreme Court ruled that the judges appeared to have unnecessarily ignored the state's plans in drawing certain districts and those maps can at least be used as a starting point.
Texas has already delayed its March 6 political primaries to April 3 because of the multiple legal challenges to redistricting maps. Will the primaries be delayed again? No one can say.
The outcome of this dispute is important to both parties. The 2010 Census shows Texas is entitled to four more seats in Congress. At issue is where the new districts will be drawn, and whether those four seats will have Republicans or Democrats sitting in them.