ICYMI: SCOTUS Blocks Lower Courts, Reinstates Texas Congressional District Plans

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Sep 16, 2017 7:30 PM
ICYMI: SCOTUS Blocks Lower Courts, Reinstates Texas Congressional District Plans

Well, the controversial congressional maps in the Lone Star State that were struck down by two lower court decisions were reinstated by the Supreme Court on Tuesday in a 5-4 ruling. The issue at hand involves two congressional districts belonging to Republicans Lloyd Doggett and Blake Farenthold, which the lower courts said were drawn unconstitutionally. Legal actions were taken. In August, Justice Samuel Alito blocked the lower court ruling that the two districts must be redrawn. Alito's decision allowed the challenged districts to remain until arguments from the challenging parties can be heard by the full judicial body. They had until September 5 to file responses (via Bloomberg):

A divided U.S. Supreme Court reinstated disputed congressional and state voting maps in Texas, blocking two lower court rulings that said the Republican-backed district lines were the product of racial discrimination.

The orders issued Tuesday evening make it likely the disputed districts will be used in 2018, as they were with some small variations for the three previous elections. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.

[…]

The high court action is a victory for Texas Republicans, who defended the districts and sought Supreme Court intervention. It’s a blow to minority-rights groups that sued to challenge the maps.

In the congressional case, a divided three-judge panel would have required the redrawing of districts currently held by Democrat Lloyd Doggett and Republican Blake Farenthold. Doggett’s district stretches from Austin to San Antonio, and Farenthold’s district includes Corpus Christi and much of the area along the Gulf of Mexico damaged by Hurricane Harvey.