U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocks ruling against Texas congressional map

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August 28, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday temporarily put on hold a lower court ruling that invalidated two of Texas’ 36 congressional districts. 

In an order signed by Justice Samuel Alito, the high court indicated it wanted to hear from the minority groups suing the state before the state’s appeal of that ruling moves forward. The high court instead ordered the state’s legal foes to file a response by Sept. 5 to the state’s efforts to keep congressional district boundaries intact for the 2018 elections. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had asked the Supreme Court to block a three-judge panel’s unanimous finding that Congressional Districts 27 and 35 violate the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. State leaders have said they have no immediate plans to call lawmakers back to Austin to redraw the congressional map. Instead, they looked to the high court to protect Texas from needing a new map ahead of the 2018 elections. 

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Redesigning the embattled map, which Texas used for the past three election cycles, would affect congressional races statewide because boundary changes in the two flagged districts would also reshape neighboring districts. 

Texas and the minority rights groups suing the state were scheduled to return to court on Sept. 5 to fight over a new map. It’s unclear whether that hearing will move forward. 

The same federal court also found that the Texas House map must be redrawn because lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities in crafting several legislative districts. The court had indicated that lawmakers should be prepared to also meet on Sept. 6 to consider changes to the state House map. 

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/08/28/supreme-court-congressional-map/.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.