Supreme Court takes up Texas redistricting case

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it plans to hear a significant voting rights case, agreeing to review a lower...

Posted: Jan 14, 2018 9:46 AM
Updated: Jan 14, 2018 9:46 AM

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it plans to hear a significant voting rights case, agreeing to review a lower court opinion that invalidated congressional and statehouse maps in Texas.

The order adds another case touching on voting disputes to the court's docket at a time when the justices are already considering cases concerning partisan gerrymandering and the purge of voter rolls in Ohio.

The justices have already indicated they might be split down ideological lines in the case because last fall they voted 5-4 to freeze the lower court opinion until they decided whether to take up the case.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented from that order. As things stand, the Supreme Court's order means that the current maps will probably be used in the 2018 election, but no final determination has been made.

The case highlights a dispute that has been embroiled in the courts for almost a decade.

After the last census, voting rights groups such as the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund challenged maps drawn in 2011 by the republican led legislature. A court struck down the maps finding that they were enacted with a discriminatory purpose and ordered new interim maps to be drawn. The legislation subsequently enacted the new maps -- called Plan C235 -- into law while the litigation continued.

After a trial in 2017, the district Court then invalidated two districts of Plan C235 holding that one was enacted with discriminatory intent and the other contained was an impermissible racial gerrymander. The Court noted that "specific portions" of the 2011 plans that were found to be discriminatory or unconstitutional "continue unchanged." In a similar case the court also invalidated eight state legislative districts.

"The discriminatory taint was not removed by the Legislature's enactment of the court's interim plans, because the Legislature engaged in no deliberative process to remove any such taint, and in fact intended any such taint to be maintained but be safe from remedy," wrote United States District Judge Xavier Rodriguez of the Western District of Texas.

Lawyers for Texas criticized the lower court opinion arguing that the maps should stand, particularly since they were adopted with the guidance of the district court.

"Five years and three election cycles after ordering Texas to use the map known as Plan C235, that very same court has now held that the Legislature engaged in intentional discrimination and racial gerrymandering when it enacted legislation adopting Plan C235 as its own," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued in court papers. He said that Plan C235 that has been in place for half a decade "can hardly now be so offensive to the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution that it must be wiped from the books immediately, before the State can even pursue a direct appeal."

The court did not say when it will hear the case.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
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Pearl River108958
Adams104343
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Wayne98721
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George93917
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Tippah85921
Newton84427
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Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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