In case the influx of politicians shaking hands and kissing babies didn't tip you off, it's an election year.
And, much like in 2000, a Texan is asking the Supreme Court justices to cast the deciding votes in an election. This time, however, the fate of the Texas redistricting map, (not the presidency), hangs in the balance.
If you haven't been following this case since last year, here's the backstory.
Texas was awarded four additional congressional seats after the 2010 Census. The Republican-controlled Texas legislature proposed a redistricting map that favored Republicans.
Under the Voting Rights Act, Texas redistricting maps aren't valid until the D.C. District Court certifies that the proposed districts won't disenfranchise minority voters. Since the Democrat-controlled Department of Justice (DOJ) blocked D.C. District Court approval by challenging the new Texas map last year, three federal judges in San Antonio had to create interim redistricting maps for the 2012 election.
Republicans believed that the court-drawn map favored Democrats, and appealed the plan to the Supreme Court.
In a per curiam opinion, the Court sent the Texas redistricting map back to the San Antonio federal court, with instructions that the district court must give greater deference to the state legislature's redistricting plan for the state.
The district court in San Antonio responded with interim maps that the state used for its primary elections, reports Bloomberg.
Last week, the D.C. District Court finally issued an opinion in original map matter, finding that legislature's redistricting maps violated the Voting Rights Act, reports The Wall Street Journal. However, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has explained that the state will keep using the interim maps for the November election (and until the courts resolve the dispute).
Before you lament the lack of election-year drama before the Court, there's still another possibility for a pre-election hearing: According to The Christian Science Monitor, the Court could hear a challenge to multiple states' Voter ID Laws before November.
- Perry v. Perez (FindLaw's CaseLaw)
- Kingmaker or Clown? Texas Redistricting Turmoil Continues (FindLaw's Fifth Circuit Blog)
- Texas voter-ID law is blocked (The Washington Post)