By a pair of 5-4 votes, the U.S. Supreme Court has granted the state’s requests to stay lower court rulings invalidating two Texas congressional and nine state House districts. The stays are in effect pending appeals to the high court.
A panel of three U.S. district judges were set to proceed with remedial hearings last week, but those were stayed temporarily by Justice Samuel Alito. Those judges previously found that maps adopted by the Legislature in 2011 contained constitutional defects, but those maps were never used. Instead, the Legislature adopted new maps in 2013 based on districts drawn by the judges. In last month’s rulings, the judges found faults with some of those districts.
The high court’s intervention likely means that Texas will conduct its 2018 elections with the maps that have been used since 2014. Election officials have said they needed clarity on district boundaries by October in order to proceed with the 2018 primaries on time. Litigation over the 2011 maps delayed the 2012 primary by more than two months.
Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor would have denied the state’s requests.
©2017 Texas Election Source LLC