The U.S. Supreme Court late Friday agreed to expedited review of the first major dispute involving legislative redistricting following the 2010 census.
The justices will decide the constitutionality of three Texas redistricting plans for the state legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives. The Court also issued an order temporarily staying interim plans drafted by a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in San Antonio. It set oral argument for Jan. 9.
The Texas legislature’s plans have been challenged by the Department of Justice and minority and civil rights organizations. They contend that the lawmakers intentionally sought to minimize the potential influence of new Hispanic voters and to maximize the prospects of Republican candidates and incumbents. However, challenges to the legislature’s plans under the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment are still pending in federal district courts in San Antonio and Washington, D.C.
The Texas primary election is scheduled for March 6. Former Solicitor General Paul Clement of Washington, D.C.’s Bancroft has been counsel of record for Texas in its applications to the justices.