Supreme Court Upholds Texas Law on Determining Congressional Districts

Posted: Updated: Apr 04, 2016 06:47 PM
U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court
Nicholas Mueller, an Attorney with DurretteCrump PLC Nicholas Mueller, an Attorney with DurretteCrump PLC

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court upheld a Texas law that counts everyone, not just eligible voters, in determining electoral districts.

It comes as the justices are also weighing a legal challenge to Virginia’s congressional map.

The ruling is largely interpreted as reaffirming the philosophy of 'one person, one vote.' That essentially says that every district needs to have roughly the same population.

The eight justices were unanimous on the Texas case, siding with the state's current map that bases districts off census data.

But that method has been challenged, as it includes people who are ineligible to vote, including Americans too young to vote, and immigrants who are unlawfully present.

One legal expert we talked to says the census system isn't perfect, but it still more accurately reflects the belief that all people in a district should be represented by an elected official.

"It really ensures that everyone in the country has equal representation, to change the case, if it had gone the other way, would've upended the entire electoral system," said Nicholas Mueller, an attorney with DurretteCrump PLC.

The high court is also busy this term reviewing other voter issues.

Virginia’s Republican members of Congress have asked the justices to restore the commonwealth's congressional map that was used during their last election. Lower courts have deemed the 3rd Congressional District to have illegally packed African-American voters into one district.

Federal judges appointed a special master to redrawn the map after they decided the 3rd District was racially gerrymandered.

Later in spring or early summer, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision.    

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