Breaking: US Supreme Court Stays Congressional, Legislative Maps

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Tonight, the US Supreme Court announced that they would stay the San Antonio Federal Court's redrawn Congressional, State House, and State Senate maps. Filing will continue through this Thursday, December 15th. SCOTUS will hold a hearing on January 9. No word of moving the March 6 primary… Yet.

From the AP / New York Times:

The Supreme Court has blocked the use of Texas state legislative and congressional district maps that were drawn by federal judges to boost minorities' voting power.

The court issued a brief order Friday that applies to electoral maps drawn by federal judges in San Antonio for the Texas Legislature and Congress. The justices say they will hear arguments in the case on Jan. 9.

Texas says that the judges overstepped their authority and should have taken into account the electoral maps that were drawn by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature.

And by “Texas” in that last paragraph, the AP means Attorney General Greg Abbott and hyper-partisan Republicans, whose argument can be summed up as “Waaaaaah!! The San Antonio courts didn't disenfranchise enough Democrats minority, young, and poor people! Antonin Scalia, fix it!”

Here's the REALLY hinky part, courtesy of SCOTUSBLOG:

Candidates began filing for seats in the legislature and in the House of Representatives on Nov. 28, and the filing period now in effect was to continue until Dec. 15.  Friday's order made no immediate change in that.   More importantly, the order did not specify what districts would actually be used for purposes of candidate filing.   The three maps drawn by the state legislature earlier this year supposedly cannot be used, because their validity under federal voting rights law and the Constitution are now under review by a U.S. District Court in Washington.  And the interim districts crafted by the District Court in San Antonio cannot be used because they are now stayed by the Justices' order.

So basically candidates can keep filing for seats with numbers attached to them, but there's no map at this time that says what that district is. The Legislative maps were tossed out for blatantly obliterating minority voting power, and now SCOTUS has basically put the new maps on hold. It's unclear if the maps are changed after January 9 whether filing would re-open and what would happen to the candidates who potentially might need to shift around.


The Court set this briefing schedule: it consolidated the cases, order Texas officials and the challengers to the legislature's maps to file opening briefs simultaneously on Dec. 21.   Reply briefs are due Jan. 3.  And the oral argument on Jan. 9 will be for one hour only.

Have a good weekend, folks!


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.


  1. Sounds like another “Plessy vs. Ferguson court.
    Hope they don't overturn the Voting Rights Act, but that wouildn't surprise me.

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