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SCOTUS to Review Texas Congressional Redistricting Map on Jan. 9

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

There are two Golden Rules that can be applied to congressional redistricting maps.

The first is your pre-school teacher’s Golden Rule: Treat others that way you want to be treated.

The second is your political science professor’s Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

Guess which of these versions politicians use.

Texas was awarded four additional congressional seats after the 2010 Census. Tasked with redesigning the state's legislative and congressional districts to reflect the adjusted population numbers, the Republican-controlled Texas legislature proposed a redistricting map that -- no surprise -- favored Republicans.

Under the Voting Rights Act, Texas redistricting maps aren't valid until the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals certifies that the proposed districts won't disenfranchise minority voters. Since Democrat-controlled Department of Justice (DOJ) is blocking D.C. Circuit approval by challenging the new Texas map, three federal judges in San Antonio had to create interim redistricting maps for the 2012 election.

Last Friday, the Supreme Court granted Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's request to temporarily stay interim, district court-drawn redistricting maps, reports The Houston Chronicle.

Atty. Gen. Abbott is suing to prevent the district court's maps from supplanting the legislature's redistricting maps in upcoming elections. The Court's intervention means that Texas candidates will not be able to file to be placed on the ballot by the original December 15 deadline, which will ultimately delay the state's election schedule.

The DOJ is not alone in contesting Texas' congressional redistricting; minority groups have sued the state to challenge the legislature's maps on the grounds that they did not properly reflect growth in Texas' Hispanic and African-American populations with majority-minority districts.

So which redistricting map will prevail in a Supreme Court hearing? We won't have to wait long to find out. Briefs in the case are due by December 21, and the Court will hear oral arguments on Monday, January 9 at 1 p.m. EST.

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