A Tuesday Supreme Court ruling blocked earlier lower court rulings that ordered redrawing of racially biased Texas voting districts. As reported in the StarTribune:
‘The 5-4 order issued late Tuesday means the state almost certainly will hold elections next year in districts that were struck down as racially discriminatory.’
Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor all voted in favor of redrawing the districts, with the conservative justices voting predictably to keep the biased districts. Who would have expected differently?
The ruling makes it almost certain that Texas voters will be voting in the disputed districts, which, of course, offer a distinct advantage to Republican candidates. Again — no surprise here. The Chicago Tribune called it:
‘The court’s intervention was a victory for Texas Republicans, who had drawn the districts. It disappointed civil rights groups, who had noted that even though growth in the state’s Hispanic population was the reason for additional congressional seats, none were drawn to favor minority candidates.’
This is certainly not a new debate in Texas. The battle over congressional and legislative districts has been going on since the beginning of this century or longer. The fact that the lower courts determined that the districts were gerrymandered to the point of requiring redrawing is concerning.
Had Congress accepted Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, rather than acting in an illegal manner to deny the appointment of Garland, we would probably not be having this conversation right now. Instead, Texas would be busily redrawing districts.
‘Over the latter part of the summer, federal judges in four separate cases ruled that the Texas Legislature discriminated against minorities in drawing congressional and legislative districts, setting ID requirements for voters and even regulating who can assist voters for whom English is not their first language.’
This ruling is sure to have an enormous impact on the 2018 elections in Texas, as explained in the Chicago Tribune:
‘Without a special session or a court redrawing the legislative and congressional district lines, it would seem impossible to have the new districts in place in time for the 2018 elections. New districts would likely have increased the chances for Democrats and minorities to capture them.’
The Trump Effect is going to have a lasting impact on the entire country that we can only begin to imagine.