The Supreme Court has blocked the use of Texas state legislative and congressional district maps that were drawn by federal judges to boost minorities' voting power.
The court issued a brief order Friday that applies to electoral maps drawn by federal judges in San Antonio for the Texas Legislature and Congress. The justices say they will hear arguments in the case on Jan. 9.
If you aren't familiar with the case, Texas Republicans asked the Supreme Court to step in and halt implementation of new court-drawn legislative and congressional maps for the 2012 elections. The interim maps were necessary because plans passed by the legislature have not yet (and may never) receive pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act. The court-drawn plans were much more favorable to Democrats than those created by the GOP-held legislature, which is of course why Republicans were trying to block them.
And this is, frankly, an amazing turn of events, given that Texas's candidate filing deadline is just days away, Dec. 15, and its primary is on March 6. The Supreme Court has therefore thrown the entire election into turmoil. Even if they eventually uphold the maps, Texas will clearly have to extend its filing deadline and very possibly delay the primary, too. And if they don't, then new maps will need to get drawn, extending the process even further.
We'll be following this situation closely as it develops.