Texas election map trial goes to federal court

File - In this May 30, 2013 file photo, Texas state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa looks at maps on display prior to a Senate Redistricting committee hearing, in Austin, Texas. Attorney General Eric Holder says Texas is the first place that he will intervene to defend against what he calls attacks on the voting rights of minorities, but it is also the only state where the federal government has a clear opportunity to get involved, experts say. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
File - In this May 30, 2013 file photo, Texas state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa looks at maps on display prior to a Senate Redistricting committee hearing, in Austin, Texas. Attorney General Eric Holder says Texas is the first place that he will intervene to defend against what he calls attacks on the voting rights of minorities, but it is also the only state where the federal government has a clear opportunity to get involved, experts say. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A federal trial over Texas election maps is giving the Obama administration a chance to argue that the Voting Rights Act should still apply to the state — despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling weakening it.

The case opens Monday, though a ruling isn’t expected for weeks.

At issue are statehouse and congressional districts drawn by the GOP-dominated Legislature in 2011.

The trial comes a year after the high court found that Texas and other states with a history of voting discrimination no longer need federal permission to change elections laws, undermining much of the Voting Rights Act.

Still, the Justice Department says Texas still needs approval. It points to a little-known portion of the act saying state and local governments still need permission if intentional discrimination is found.

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