In a somewhat unusual move, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan voted to register their dissent from the Court's decision.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks during a swearing in ceremony for Judge Neil Gorsuch as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S.on April 10, 2017. The next chance the state will likely have to draw these new maps will be before 2020 elections.
The stay will remain in effect until Texas files its appeal of the lower court ruling, which the justices are likely to take up. His order had put off a court hearing until the full Supreme Court could weigh in.
Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the order, saying he was "eager to proceed with this case in the high court". Instead, it granted Texas' request to keep the old maps in place until the Supreme Court has reviewed the lower court's finding of racial discrimination. "I have always maintained that the Supreme Court would have the final say on local congressional district lines, and tonight the Court just said it", he wrote.
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U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, represents CD 27, while CD 35 is represented by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. The court blocked the ruling of a three-judge panel in Texas.
The state has been in the midst of an extraordinary losing streak in federal courts over the way it conducts elections.
The order gave no reason for the decision, stating only that the San Antonio-based three-judge panel must stop redrawing districts until the Supreme Court rules on Texas' appeal.
"How many times do courts have to find that Texas intentionally discriminated against minority voters before Texas is bailed back into preclearance under the Voting Rights Act?" he added. Election officials in Texas have said they would need new maps by October if the state wanted to update them before the coming 2018 elections.
Paxton had argued that, with candidate filing set to begin in mid-November, the late-summer effort to redraw the districts would create confusion and potentially delay the March primaries.