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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Supreme Court leaves Texas redistricting map largely intact
Jeannie Shawl at 10:08 AM ET

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] held Wednesday in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report] and three other consolidated cases that only one of the new voting districts created by the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan [official website] that helped Republicans gain six seats in the US Congress is invalid under the Voting Rights Act [DOJ backgrounder]. The Court said that the "redrawing of District 23's lines amounts to vote dilution violative" of Section 2 of the Act. Opponents of the redistricting plan had also challenged the plan's validity [case materials] and accused the Texas legislature of drawing oddly shaped districts solely to protect Republican interests, but the Court ruled that the plaintiffs failed to state a sufficient claim of partisan gerrymandering. They also declined to resolve a dispute over whether partisan gerrymandering claims present nonjusticiable political questions.

With respect to the district court decision [PDF text] in the consolidated cases, the Court said:

We affirm the District Court's dispositions on the statewide political gerrymandering claims and the Voting Rights Act claim against District 24. We reverse and remand on the Voting Rights Act claim with respect to District 23. Because we do not reach appellants' race-based equal protection claim or the political gerrymandering claim as to District 23, we vacate the judgment of the District Court on these claims.
Read the Court's opinion [text] per Justice Kennedy, along with a concurrence in part and dissent in part [text] from Justice Stevens, who was joined in part by Justice Breyer; a concurrence in part and dissent in part [text] from Justice Souter, who was joined by Justice Ginsburg; a concurrence in part and dissent in part [text] from Justice Breyer; a concurrence in part and dissent in part [text] from Chief Justice Roberts, who was joined by Justice Alito; and a final concurrence in part and dissent in part [text] from Justice Scalia, who was joined in full by Justice Thomas and in part by Roberts and Alito. AP has more.

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