Justice Samuel Alito stayed a lower court order requiring the Texas state legislature to draw new legislative district lines in advance of the 2018 elections Monday.
The stay will remain in effect on a temporary basis until the coalition of political and civil rights groups challenging the current district map files its response to Texas’ motion. The order calls for a response by Sept. 5.
A three-judge district court ruled Thursday that state lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities when crafting the current district map, concluding the legislature drew legislative lines which intentionally undercut the electoral power of Latinos and blacks.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the Supreme Court to stay the ruling Friday.
“It is astonishing that the lower court ignored that the maps are the very same ones that the court itself adopted in 2012, and the Obama-era Department of Justice did not bring any claims against the maps,” he said in a statement. “We are confident that the Supreme Court will allow Texas to continue to use the maps used in the last three election cycles.”
Alito is the justice assigned to handle emergency motions arising from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Texas. The full Court will consider Texas’ request once a response is filed.
Disclosure: The writer’s fiancee is employed by a firm involved in this litigation.
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