Supreme Court puts redrawing of Texas political maps on hold

Supreme Court blocks lower court rulings on redrawing Texas districts

Supreme Court blocks lower court rulings on redrawing Texas districts

The stay blocked federal court decisions that required the redrawing of two congressional districts and several state legislative districts.

Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented from the majority opinion.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday evening stayed federal court decisions requiring the redrawing of some congressional and state electoral districts in Texas because of racial gerrymandering.

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"The record indicates not just a hostility toward Democrat districts, but a hostility to minority districts, and a willingness to use race for partisan advantage", the district judges wrote.

The decision means that the disputed districts will likely be used for the 2018 midterm elections.

Previously, in two prior orders, Justice Alito had issued temporary delay orders to be in effect until the full court considered the state's pleas for more prolonged postponements. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had argued a different outcome would've put "the electoral process in disarray" since districts must be decided by October 1. After years of legal wrangling, Texans and the minority rights groups suing over the maps were finally set to hash out new maps in court last week, but those hearings were canceled as the Supreme Court asked for responses from the minority rights groups to the state's emergency request for the high court to intervene.

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The high court could also choose to delay the March primary elections - a decision that's likely months away. Even so, in asking for postponements, state officials told the Supreme Court that the trial court's actions amounted to binding orders to move ahead on drawing new replacements for the districts where it had found intentional bias against Latino or black voters.

A lower court overseeing the redistricting cases called for a special session of the Texas Legislature to redraw the electoral lines.

The Texas court's three-judge panel found that the 27th and 35th districts had been unfairly drawn to disadvantage the area's large Hispanic population. Texas must first file an appeal to the August ruling.

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The court's brief Tuesday orders offered no clear indication on whether it agreed with those claims.

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