Supreme Court Rejects Intervention into Texas Voting Rights Dispute

( – The US Supreme Court rejected a request to intervene in a Voting Rights Act (VRA) case in Texas on Tuesday, December 12, over the objections of the Court’s three liberal Justices. The case is currently under review by the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case involves the redrawing of district maps in Galveston County, Texas. Republican county commissioners eliminated the previous third district, populated primarily by Black and Latino voters and the only precinct containing a non-white majority, and redrew the map, eliminating the non-white majority. Judges at the district and appellate level held that Galveston County commissioners committed racial gerrymandering, a clear violation of the VRA.

US District Judge Jeffrey Brown of the Southern District of Texas ordered the commissioners to redraw the map in October after finding they had violated the VRA. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his ruling that the map violated the VRA but argued the legislation, as written, doesn’t protect districts composed of more than one minority group. Accordingly, the Appellate Court asked the Fifth Circuit to take the case back en banc, which it agreed to but stipulated a stay on implementing the redrawn map because upcoming elections had drawn too near even though the district court had ordered the map redrawn two months previous.

Minority voters in Galveston County appealed the stay to the Supreme Court, asking to use the new map. In her dissent, Justice Kagan summarized the issue. She held that by implementing the stay pending review, the Fifth Circuit actually “disrupted the status quo” by preventing the use of a redrawn election map that was fundamentally identical to the maps the county had used for decades before the commissioners changed it by carving up the district.

The full Fifth Circuit Court plans to hear the case in May. However, the plaintiffs had argued the stay would prevent minority voters from selecting their candidates of choice for their district because the primary falls in March.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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