US Supreme Court blocks court-drawn map of Texas in Republican victory

The U.S. Supreme Court has again thrown Congress’s new map of Texas into a state of flux, temporarily blocking a redistricting map drawn by the court on Friday night and announcing it will rule on the map’s constitutionality at the beginning of next year.

The decision is a victory for Republicans who had sought to brandish the map of the state’s 36 congressional districts. The map was drawn by a three-judge panel after a map drawn by Texas Republicans was overtaken by the courts.

The court also temporarily suspended the state’s legislative districts drawn by the panel and will decide the constitutionality of those maps.

The Supreme Court has requested an expedited hearing and will hear arguments on January 9.

The Texas GOP, which controls all the levers of the 10-year redistricting process in that state, initially drew a map of Congress on which it was projected to gain three seats and the Democrats one (the state gains four seats thanks to population growth ).

But after the Justice Department announced it would challenge the map in court, a Washington, DC court ruled that a three-judge panel in San Antonio would draw an interim map for the 2012 election. panel drew a map that was better for Democrats, adding three seats that were to become Democrats and one Republican.

Texas Republicans went to the U.S. Supreme Court to block the map, and they largely got what they wanted in Friday’s ruling.

But the court’s decision leads to a lot of uncertainty in the 2012 election because filing had already begun for the state’s March primary. It was not immediately clear how candidates for the seats of Congress and the state Legislature might proceed, given that Texas GOP maps and panel-drawn maps were withheld.

The Supreme Court in 2006 ruled on another map drawn by Texas Republicans, ordering a redraw of part of the map.

For more, be sure to check out Summary of SCOTUSblog.

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