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Why The U.S. Supreme Court Stayed Texas’ Redistricting Maps

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In law, remote possibilities can become reality with the issuance of a court order. Even though Texas Democrats, Texas Republicans, and legal scholars did not expect an emergency stay to be granted, the justices gave true meaning to the word “supreme” yesterday- they have an understanding of the law no one else has.

Truthfully, redistricting is a legislative function. The issuance of the emergency stay signals a concern regarding the appropriate legal standard a federal court should apply when it draws interim maps. The State argues that the San Antonio panel should have given deference to the legislatively approved maps, which are awaiting Section 5 preclearance in Washington, D.C.. The San Antonio panel disagreed even though some districts in their interim maps mirrored those in the legislative maps. In other words, the interim maps reflect some legislative preferences, but not all.

The key questions the U.S. Supreme Court needs to answer are as follows:

1. What is the correct legal standard to apply to interim maps when legislative approved maps are awaiting Section 5 preclearance?

2. Did the San Antonio panel err in ignoring the legislative preferences and choices by Texas lawmakers even though the State of Texas chose the judicial route to preclear the maps?

3. Did the San Antonio panel err in not fixing only the districts the Department of Justice identified as problematic in its court filings in the D.C. preclearance proceeding?

4. To what extent can coalition districts involving minority groups be created?

5. Can new minority districts be created under Section 2 in an interim map even though the San Antonio panel has not ruled on the merits of the plaintiffs’ Section 2 claims?

Written by Admin

December 10, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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