The Supreme Court Will Take Up Texas Redistricting Case

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

The same court also found similar issues with the maps that were drawn for the state's House of Representatives districts in August.

The justices agreed Friday to hear two cases challenging congressional and state legislative districts in Texas, adding them to ones already pending from Wisconsin and Maryland. In a September 2017 ruling, the South Dakota Supreme Court, citing the 1992 precedent, ruled against the state. "It's not the decision we sought, but we're glad the nation's highest court will learn how new state laws are imposing unreasonable tax burdens on out-of-state businesses", DelBianco said.

It had ordered the state to redraw the lines in time for the 2018 elections.

In those two instances, Rios said, candidates competed in open elections for the newly drawn districts and closely contested races without a majority victor went into run-offs.

"We are eager for the chance to present our case before the U.S. Supreme Court", Paxton said, pointing out the Supreme Court previous year blocked a lower court's ruling that would have forced a redrawing of at least some of the boundaries, including the Coastal Bend's 27th congressional district.

The justices agreed to hear an appeal by the state of South Dakota, which has been pushing a test case with the goal of overturning a high-court precedent that limits states' sales tax collections.

On the House side, the panel ruled that Texas needed to address violations in Dallas, Nueces, Bell and Tarrant counties where it said lawmakers diluted the strength of voters of color.

Lawyers for Texas criticized the lower court opinion arguing that the maps should stand, particularly since they were adopted with the guidance of the district court.

A barrage of court rulings a year ago - including the two redistricting rulings handed down last August - have forced Texas leaders to confront whether they strayed too far in enacting voting laws found to have disproportionately burdened people of color.

The high court did not act on the Texas Democratic Party's request to revive a legal claim over partisan gerrymandering - a redistricting strategy that until recently was deemed acceptable. The Supreme Court wiped clean that list in 2013, but it left open the possibility that future, intentional discrimination could lead to a return to preclearance. A ruling that calls for a redrawing of any of the maps would not only affect districts specifically identified in the case, but could also have a ripple effect, altering the boundaries of surrounding seats. A court struck down the maps finding that they were enacted with a discriminatory goal and ordered new interim maps to be drawn. The judges said that minority voters were needless shoved out of Farenthold's district to keep it safely Republican. Even if the court rules against the maps, he expects the decision will be too late for the districts to get redrawn before the 2018 contest.

Hanging over the Texas case is the possibility that the state will be placed back under federal oversight of its elections laws.

The Texas dispute dates back to 2011, when the GOP-dominated legislature created new congressional and state legislative districts to help Republicans, even though the growth in the state's population was nearly entirely attributable to minorities who more often vote Democratic.

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