Supreme Court to Take Up Partisan Gerrymandering Case With Potential Texas Implications

WASHINGTON -- Already grappling with the potential impact of a recent Supreme Court ruling on racial gerrymandering, Texas political observers faced the possibility of a new and broader challenge to the state’s congressional map Monday as the court took up a Wisconsin case on partisan gerrymandering.The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will consider whether gerrymandered election maps favoring one political party over another can cross a line of excessive partisanship.A divided panel of three judges in Wisconsin ruled last year that the map drawn up by the state’s GOP leadership in 2011 was so partisan that it violated First Amendment and equal rights protections in the Constitution.The Supreme Court will now hear arguments in that case in the next term beginning in October, with a ruling expected next year. But the court will first need to decide whether it even has jurisdiction in the matter, as it left that question open in accepting the case.In Texas, Democrats have been arguing for years that the state’s congressional map is drawn unfairly in ways that dilute racial minority votes. But while they have also complained more broadly about the map diluting Democratic votes, the lack of Supreme Court action on the issue has limited the strength of any argument on those grounds.An affirmative ruling from the Supreme Court, which sets nationwide precedent, could change that, leading to new challenges on the current Texas map and a fresh set of rules ahead of the next redistricting period in 2021.  Continue reading...

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