SCOTUS Unanimously Rejects Judge Drawn TX Re-Districting Maps

January 20, 2012

Written by: Karen Townsend, Contributor

Texas voters won another round in the battle over the re-districting map drawn up and approved by the Texas legislature. After it was denied by the Department of Justice and re-drawn by a three judge panel in San Antonio, the battle went to the Supreme Court. Friday, it was announced that the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the judge drawn map.

Citing the lower-court judges should have been guided more by the maps drawn by the State Legislature,the Supreme Court unanimously nullified the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas’ redistricting maps and ordered them to start over. This historic decision will help ensure that legislative and congressional districts are designed by the people’s elected representatives first and foremost, while the courts exist to protect the rights of anyone who can prove discrimination.

Rep Jim Murphy (Tx Dist 133) sums it up:
The House and Senate worked together to draw maps for the House, the Senate, State Board of Education and the Congress. It was the first time in three decades that all four maps passed out of the legislative branch and then signed by the Governor. Last Fall, there were two lawsuits filed to challenging the maps based on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The cases quickly made it to the Supreme Court. The Court heard arguments on Monday and it appears likely that we will have maps sometime in February.

Let’s hope this process moves forward quickly and fairly now. Because of the uncertainty, some elections have been up in the air.

Here is what we do know:
* we do not have maps that tell us what our district or precinct lines will be
* we do not have a firm date for the Primary
* we will not have any definite answers for about a month

The legal wrangling has created a lot of uncertainty and confusion for our voters, candidates and all involved in the process.


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