Abbott v. Perez

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Election Law
  • Date Filed: January 12, 2018
  • Case #: 17-586
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: No. 5:11-cv-360, 2017 WL 3668115 (W.D. Tex. Aug. 24, 2017)
  • Full Text Opinion

If jurisdiction is valid, the Court will determine whether the Texas Legislature’s redistricting plan was racial gerrymandering in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment as a result of voter dilution.

The Texas Legislature enacted the 2011 redistricting maps; petitioners filed suit alleging that the new districts were unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. The district court found that the new districts were in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment. Petitioners appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court granted appellants a stay before the court-scheduled remedy hearing. On appeal, the Court ordered the district court to draw interim maps that did not violate the Voting Rights Act or the U.S. Constitution; the district court complied. Instead of continuing litigation, the Texas legislature adopted the majority of changes outlined in the district court interim maps and enacted plan H358 which reflected those changes. Additionally, in 2013 the Texas legislature repealed the 2011 congressional plan. Thus, the 2011 plan never took legal effect and was not used to conduct an election. Petitioners amended their complaint to assert that the H358 was also in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment. At the hearing on jurisdiction, the Supreme Court took issue with the district court allowing the petitioner to keep moot claims against the 2011 redistricting maps in the complaint. Moreover, the Court postponed a hearing on the question of jurisdiction until the hearing on the merits, consolidated both the 2011 plan claims and H358 claims, and allocated one hour for oral argument.

 

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