TX GOP’s appeal to US Supreme Court leaves Texas voters in Limbo

Ongoing hostility by Texas Republican leaders against Hispanic and African American voters and against the US Voting Rights Act has left the final resolution of boundaries for Texas House, Senate and congressional districts in disarray. Last fall, Rick Perry, Greg Abbott and other Texas Republican leaders filed an appeal with US Supreme Court asking that a previous Federal District Court ruling that the boundaries adopted by the Republican Legislature last year intentionally discriminate against minority Texans be overturned.
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Ongoing hostility by Texas Republican leaders against Hispanic and African American voters and against the US Voting Rights Act has left the final resolution of boundaries for Texas House, Senate and congressional districts in disarray. Last fall, Rick Perry, Greg Abbott and other Texas Republican leaders filed an appeal with US Supreme Court asking that a previous Federal District Court ruling that the boundaries adopted by the Republican Legislature last year intentionally discriminate against minority Texans be overturned. The Texas Republican leaders further asked the Supreme Court to strike down key provisions of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. These hostile actions against Texas Hispanic and African American voters as well as the Voting Rights Act may well mean that no action to adopt fair lines will be taken until mid or late 2013. In fact, Texans could face another election cycle of delayed candidate filings and rescheduled primary dates.

The Texas Republican’s appeal has prompted a series of Supreme Court briefs from all of the parties involved in the Texas redistricting litigation. The SCOTUS briefs can be seen here: Davis/Veasey, Latino Task Force, DOJ and all other intervenors.

The Supreme Court will decide whether or not to take up the Texas case in early January. It is possible that rather than formally consider the Texas appeal they simply set it aside while the Court reviews other related challenges, like a pending case in Alabama challenging provisions of the US Voting Rights Act. Regardless, any action by the Supreme Court short of rejecting the Texas GOP appeal outright will lead to delay and uncertainty through much of next year.

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