Supreme Court blocks lower court rulings on Texas districts

Central Texas Congressional Districts from the State of Texas.

WASHINGTON (AP/KXAN) — A divided Supreme Court is blocking lower court rulings that ordered Texas to redraw some congressional and legislative districts.

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.

The court’s four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, would have allowed the redrawing of the affected districts.

In a statement Tuesday night, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, said he has always said the Supreme Court would have final say on his 35th Congressional District, which he has served for almost five years.

“Now there is certainty that [my district] will remain precisely the same for the next election. Filing for that election begins in only two months. I will maintain my active involvement in San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos, Lockhart and the other communities along I-35,” Doggett said.

Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the decision, saying the Supreme Court confirmed what everyone already knew: “Texas should be able to use maps in 2018 that the district court itself adopted in 2012 and Texas used in the last three election cycles.”

He continued, “In 2012 the Supreme Court ordered the district court to adopt lawful maps, and we believe it did so. We are eager to proceed with this case in the high court.”

The attorney general’s office say the justices’ 5-4 decisions stay a San Antonio district court’s rulings as the Supreme Court takes up Attorney General Paxton’s appeal. The lower court invalidated two of Texas’ 36 congressional seats (27 and 35) and nine of Texas’ 150 House seats.

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