Time and timing was of the essence Monday afternoon during Supreme Court oral argument over which legislative maps Texas may use in its fast-approaching state and federal primary elections, now slated for April. The justices appeared to recognize that they needed to craft some creative compromise to avoid a hastily written, ideologically divided opinion that could essentially hand over the Texas legislature and four new congressional seats to Republicans at the expense of the state’s increased Latino population, which primarily votes Democratic.
In light of the 2012 Census data, the Republican-controlled Texas legislature redrew its state and federal electoral districts. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 then required Texas, as one of a handful of states with a history of voter minority suppression, to preclear its redistricting plans with a federal court in Washington, D.C. The D.C. court, however, has yet to accept or reject the maps.