redistricting

A panel of federal judges ruled on Friday that three of Texas' congressional districts are illegal, violating the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. The panel found that Republicans had used race as a motivating factor in redistricting.

Judges Xavier Rodriguez and Orlando Garcia wrote the court's decision, which comes after a protracted and complex legal battle that began when the new districts were drawn in 2011, following the last census.

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This year, all 36 of Texas’ congressional representatives are up for re-election, but only one of those races is considered by most observers to actually be competitive. When it comes to state house and senate races, the vast majority of those aren’t terribly competitive either. That’s due, in large part, to a lot of the districts in the state are drawn with an overwhelming majority of one party or another.

supremecourt.gov

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday in favor of keeping intact the way Texas counts people for state senate districts. It was called the one man - one vote case - and it was seen a victory for the Democrats.  But it's not over yet.

Guests:

  • Michael Li, senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice
  • Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies for the Cato Institute

There was an unusual scene at Florida's Capitol building in Tallahassee this week. To comply with a court order, legislative staffers used a computer program to randomly assign new numbers to Florida's 40 state Senate districts.

It's the latest in a series of moves that have reshaped politics in the Sunshine State. The political ground shifted recently when the courts approved new maps for congressional districts and the state Senate. The maps are the result of laws that aim to eliminate gerrymandering: drawing districts to benefit one political party or another.

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could have far-reaching implications for the way legislative districts in Texas — and across the country — are drawn. A coalition of Texas legislators, mostly Democrats, fears that if voters suing the state succeed, minority communities will have significantly reduced political power.

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