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U.S. Supreme Court Throws Out Court-Drawn Electoral Maps

oyez.org

The nation’s highest court has thrown out electoral maps for Texas drawn by a federal judicial panel.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an unsigned per curiam opinion vacating the maps drawn by a federal district court panel in San Antonio, which modified some districts in the state to heavily favor minorities and Democrats.

The court remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with their opinion, and did not compel the use of the electoral maps drawn by the Texas Legislature.

In their decision, the court found it unclear if the district court followed proper procedure, and states that the panel did not follow the basic guidelines set forth by the Legislature-drawn maps.

“The District Court also appears to have unnecessarily ignored the State’s plans in drawing certain individual districts…Nor did the District Court rely on a finding that the relevant aspects of the state plan stood a reasonable probability of failing to gain §5 preclearance,” the opinion stated.

In a concurrence, Justice Clarence Thomas supported the court’s decision, but stated that he believes Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional.

Ben Sklar, Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott lauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, saying “The Court made clear in a strongly worded opinion that the district court must give deference to elected leaders of this state, and it’s clear by the Supreme Court ruling that the district court abandoned these guiding principles.”

The court-implemented electoral maps changed over half of the 150 Texas House districts, five Texas Senate districts, and all of the state’s 36 congressional districts from the map originally created by the Texas Legislature.

To read the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion for Perry v. Perez, visit http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-713.pdf.

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