The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday put on hold a lower court ruling that invalidated two of Texas’ 36 congressional districts. In an order signed by Justice Samuel Alito, the high court indicated it wanted to hear from the minority groups suing the state before the state’s appeal of that ruling moves forward. The high court ordered the state’s legal foes to file a response by Sept. 5 to the state’s efforts to keep congressional district boundaries intact for the 2018 elections. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had asked the Supreme Court to block a three-judge panel’s unanimous finding that Congressional Districts 27 and 35 violate the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. State leaders have said they have no immediate plans to call lawmakers back to Austin to redraw the congressional map. Instead, they looked to the high court to protect Texas from needing a new map ahead of the 2018 elections.
“Stall and delay is the favorite tactic used by Attorney General Paxton,” said state Rep. Mary González, vice chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, a plaintiff in the case. “We feel confident that once the Supreme Court has the opportunity to hear both sides that they will move forward to provide justice to all Texas voters.”
The AG’s office, meanwhile, said they were “encouraged” by Alito’s decision.
“We remain hopeful that the entire Court will allow Texas to continue to use the maps that were in place the last three election cycles,” Marc Rylander, the AG’s director of communications, said in a statement.