The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a bid by Texas to revive Republican-drawn electoral districts for state legislative and U.S. congressional seats that were thrown out by a lower court for diminishing black and Hispanic voters' clout.
Friday's decision to combine the Texas cases and hear oral arguments in the spring came nearly four months after the Supreme Court, acting on a Texas request, blocked the lower court's efforts to begin redrawing the districts to allow time to consider whether to review the rulings. Previously, there were two separate cases: One for the state's congressional map, and one for the Texas House map. Nina Perales, vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund and lead counsel for the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force in the case, called the decision a "mixed result".
Friday's action focused even sharper attention on voting rights at the Supreme Court, which is already hearing partisan gerrymandering challenges to districts in Wisconsin and Maryland, raising the potential for far-reaching changes to the way political districts are drawn. The ruling came with a three-day deadline for Governor Abbott to call a special session to address the maps - Paxton appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which then halted the lower-court ruling while they looked into the case.
-District 27, held by U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, which the court said was improperly drawn to reduce the voting strength of Latinos.
The same court also found similar issues with the maps that were drawn for the state's House of Representatives districts in August.