Sunday, November 17, 2019

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Abstract

Excerpted from: Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, et Al., V. Shannon Perez, et Al.greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, et Al., Appellants, 138 S.Ct. 2305, Nos. 17–586, 17–626, Argued April 24, 2018. Decided June 25, 2018. (Footnotes) (Full Document)

Voters, state and federal legislators, and voting rights organizations brought actions alleging that Texas's redistricting plans for United States House of Representatives, Texas House of Representatives, and Texas Senate violated Constitution and Voting Rights Act (VRA). After the District Court issued interim redistricting plans, the Texas Legislature adopted court's interim plans without change, the cases were consolidated, and bench trial was held. A three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Xavier Rodriguez, J., 267 F.Supp.3d 750, 274 F.Supp.3d 624, entered orders barring Texas from using districting plans in effect to conduct the current year's elections, and appeal was taken.

Holdings: The Supreme Court, Justice Alito, held that:

[1] orders were effectively injunctions and thus were appealable to the Supreme Court;
[2] District Court disregarded presumption of legislative good faith and improperly reversed burden of proof;
[3] evidence was insufficient to establish that the Texas Legislature acted in bad faith and engaged in intentional discrimination when it adopted interim redistricting plan approved by the district court;
[4] one congressional district did not violate VRA;
[5] two Texas House districts making up entirety of one Texas county did not violate VRA; and
[6] Texas House district created by moving Latinos into the district to bring the Latino population above 50% was an impermissible racial gerrymander.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion in which Justice Gorsuch joined.
Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan joined.

Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law

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