San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

January 20th, 2012
Supreme Court nixes judge-drawn redistricting maps

TEXAS TRIBUNE PHOTO ILLUSTRATION by TODD WISEMAN

by ROSS RAMSEY

The U.S. Supreme Court threw out court-drawn Texas redistricting maps on Friday morning, saying a panel of federal judges should have used the Legislature’s maps as their starting point.

That’s a victory for the state, which argued for the Legislature’s maps. But it still leaves Texas without maps for the primary elections this spring, and probably ensures that those elections will be held later than April 3, the currently scheduled date.

Both maps would result in strong Republican majorities in the Texas House, Senate and congressional delegations. But the Legislature’s maps were more strongly Republican, adding a handful of Republican seats in the Legislature, and one to three more in the congressional delegation.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, set aside the court’s map. Another federal panel is holding hearings now on the legality of the Legislature’s maps under the federal Voting Rights Act. That case will go on, and that court’s decision, along with proceedings that follow in federal court in Texas, will decide the final maps, primary dates and so on.

The San Antonio panel didn’t use the Legislature’s maps because those hadn’t been pre-cleared, as required by the Voting Rights Act. Even so, the Supreme Court ruled, they should have used those maps as their starting point:

Section 5 prevents a state plan from being implemented if it has not been precleared. But that does not mean that the plan is of no account or that the policy judgments it reflects can be disregarded by a district court drawing an interim plan. On the contrary, the state plan serves as a starting point for the district court. It provides important guidance that helps ensure that the district court appro- priately confines itself to drawing interim maps that comply with the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, without displacing legitimate state policy judgments with the court’s own preferences.

Local election administrators around the state have said they won’t be able to conduct April 3 primaries unless they have maps by the end of this month. The Washington court’s final arguments in the current case are set for Feb. 3, with the San Antonio proceedings to follow.

ROSS RAMSEY is editor of The Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.

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6 thoughts on “Supreme Court nixes judge-drawn redistricting maps

  1. Texas is a lost cause. A bigger bunch of silly, stupid, self-absorbed, victimized, apathetic, celebrity worshiping Conservative wackos can only be found in South Carolina… (lol) Yea, the American PEOPLE want the Republican Corporate Ho Party to win in the next election so they can continue the waste, fraud, abuse of power, welfare for the rich, war profiteering and the worst corporate crime wave in US history. The best thing Republican voters can do for the USA is not vote!

  2. What you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point during your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could have been considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  3. And the Democratic politicians don’t pander to their bases and put their own careers paramount above everything else as well? I guess we would have no gerrymandering if they were in power, no political corruption, no double speak, free money would fall from the sky into everyones’ open hands like manna from Heaven. Note, I think the Republican party is just as corrupt and filled with lying career politicians playing to their own right wing version of the simplistic thinking you have just demonstrated for us quite well from Stage Left…oh well, another day in the Republic…

  4. I had often wondered who would write the most ingnorant post ever on a San Marcos news websight. Charles O’dell I thought would hold that position forever. However Spo101, I have to hand it to you, you have won.

  5. Don’t forget Lamar Hankins….though his contributions aren’t posts to the message board, his columns are often so far out there that the only logical conclusion is that they were written to incite….

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