Roll Call: Texas Congressional Map Comes Under Supreme Court Scrutiny


The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could not only require Texas to redraw its congressional districts, but give states a way to defend against claims of gerrymandering.

This is the third case the justices will hear this term about how states draw legislative maps to gain a political advantage. Cases from Wisconsin and Maryland focus on whether those maps can be too partisan. The Texas case is a more traditional challenge to how state lawmakers draw the lines using voter data.


“The states always watch these cases very carefully because they’re trying to see how much they can get away with in redistricting,” said Danielle Lang, an attorney with the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center who filed a brief in the case.


States would know those interim maps are the limit of the changes they would have to make to stop a legal challenge, Lang said. That, in turn, could make voter rights groups that challenge maps afraid to get preliminary injunctions before their full case gets heard.

“I think you could see a set of copycat litigation gamesmanship,” Lang said.

The case, Abbott v. Perez, could turn on some procedural issues, such as whether the case is ripe for the Supreme Court to review in the first place. And it also involves the Texas state legislative map.

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