Supreme Court won't block Texas voting map

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 19, 2012 3:21 PM
Supreme Court won't block Texas voting map

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to postpone Texas' congressional elections, rejecting a claim by a Hispanic civil rights group that an interim court-drawn map discriminated against minorities.

Without comment, the court rejected an appeal by the League of United Latin American Citizens to the map, which had been drawn up by a three-judge federal court panel in San Antonio.

The map is expected to remain in place as Texas tries to revive a different map that had been drawn up by its Republican-controlled legislature.

On August 28, a three-judge panel of the federal court in Washington said that map violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act by diluting the influence of black and Hispanic voters.

Texas has said it plans to appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Another panel of the court in Washington last month struck down the state's requirement that voters show photo identification before casting ballots.

The Hispanic rights group, known as LULAC, said the court-drawn map had similar flaws to the legislature's map.

"We will fight it out with the legislature to make sure it complies with the D.C. court order," Luis Vera, LULAC's national general counsel, said in a phone interview. "In the meantime, it is the black community and the Latino community that suffer."

Whatever map is ultimately adopted is expected to remain in place through the 2020 elections, after which a new map will be drawn to take that year's U.S. Census data into account.

The Texas congressional delegation now has 32 members, including 23 Republicans and nine Democrats. It will grow to 36 members in the next Congress.

The case is LULAC v. Perry, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12A234.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Doina Chiacu)