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redistricting

Updated at 9:39 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a Republican challenge to the newly drawn Pennsylvania congressional map ahead of the 2018 elections.

The decision means Republicans have few, if any, options remaining to try to stem a map that will almost certainly result in Democrats picking up potentially three or four seats and could make half a dozen or more competitive.

Tuesday is the filing deadline for candidates for Pennsylvania's May 15 primaries.

How Much Does Voting Matter In A Gerrymandered District?

Feb 26, 2018
Elkanah Tisdale (1771-1835). Originally published in the Boston Centinel, 1812

This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide three cases on partisan gerrymandering, including one from Texas. At issue: Is drawing congressional districts to favor one political party over another unconstitutional?

Even as Democrats and Republicans spend 2018 vying to win key races around the country, a larger legal battle underway this year could reshape the American political map — literally.

By June, the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to decide three major redistricting cases — out of Wisconsin, Maryland and Texas — that will lay some of the foundation for what the maps will look like, not just this year, but after the 2020 census that could affect control of Congress for the next decade.

The state of those legal cases and other key ones (that could affect 2018 and 2020) are below.

Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET

Pennsylvania will soon have new congressional maps.

The United States Supreme Court has decided not to block a state court ruling requiring Pennsylvania's Legislature to immediately redraw its legislative boundaries.

Pennsylvania's state Supreme Court had previously ruled those 18 congressional districts — drawn by a Republican Legislature and signed by a Republican governor in 2011 — were overly partisan and violated the state Constitution.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today it won’t be hearing a challenge to the state’s political maps from the Texas Democratic Party. In a lawsuit, Democrats claimed state lawmakers drew political boundaries in 2011 in favor of Republicans.

The Supreme Court of the United States
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Further extending a drawn-out legal battle, the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a case over whether Texas' congressional and House district boundaries discriminate against voters of color. 

Updated on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. ET

Keith Gaddie has "hung up his spurs."

The election expert from the University of Oklahoma no longer helps state legislatures draw new district lines to maximize their partisan advantage.

He was still wearing those spurs in 2011 when he provided data that helped Wisconsin Republicans enact a legislative redistricting plan aimed at maximizing their power for the foreseeable future.

But now he has reversed course and filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the practice is undemocratic.

The Supreme Court of the United States
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court has dealt a serious setback to those hoping Texas would see new congressional and House district maps ahead of the 2018 elections. 

The U.S. Supreme Court did something out of the ordinary last week: It responded to an appeal when there was technically nothing to appeal.  

U.S. Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Ruling Against Texas House Map

Sep 1, 2017

A lower court ruling that invalidated parts of the Texas House state map has been temporarily blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Graphic by Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

Parts of the Texas House map must be redrawn ahead of the 2018 elections because lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities in crafting several legislative districts, federal judges ruled on Thursday. 

Jim Malewitz / The Texas Tribune

If Gov. Greg Abbott calls a second special legislative session this summer, it won’t be for redistricting.

Gov. Greg Abbott told a radio program Wednesday he plans to appeal to the Supreme Court a federal ruling that could force state lawmakers to redraw two congressional districts in Texas before the 2018 elections.

From Texas Standard:

In a much-anticipated ruling, a panel of three federal judges in San Antonio has invalidated two of the state's 36 congressional districts. The ruling represents the sixth time this decade that Texas electoral districts have been invalidated by federal courts, based on findings of intentional discrimination.

Graphic by Todd Wiseman

SAN ANTONIO — The state of Texas faced a healthy dose of judicial skepticism on Saturday as its lawyers laid out final arguments in a trial over whether lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minority voters in enacting current Texas House and Congressional district maps.

Mandy Blott, a psychologist living in East Austin, says she has always been somewhat plugged into politics. Her activism has ebbed and flowed through the years, but after the last presidential election, she decided to double down.

The first thing she did, she says, was look up her member of Congress.

Graphic by Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

SAN ANTONIO — Eight months ahead of the 2018 primaries, Texas and its legal foes on Monday will kick off a weeklong trial that could shake up races across the state.

From Texas Standard:

For the first time in more than a decade, the Supreme Court will take up a case questioning a common practice U.S. lawmakers use to draw political maps: gerrymandering.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up an appeal over electoral districts in Wisconsin after a lower court ruled that the state's Republican-drawn map constitutes an "unconstitutional partisan gerrymander."

It's the first time in more than a decade that the nation's highest court will take up the issue of partisan gerrymandering, or drawing voting districts with the aim of strengthening one political party.

Federal Court Sets July Trial Date In Texas Redistricting Case

May 2, 2017
Graphic by Todd Wiseman

With the 2018 election cycle looming, a federal judge panel has set July 10 as the start date for a trial over the state’s House and congressional political maps.

A panel of federal judges in San Antonio found Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minority voters in some areas when they drew district maps for the Texas House of Representatives.

Months ago, new Texas congressional maps for the 2018 election seemed like a pie-in-the-sky idea. The federal court looking at a lawsuit against the state’s 2011 map had sat on a ruling for years, and the case had gone unresolved for several election cycles.

Illustration by Anneke Paterson / Todd Wiseman

Some of Texas’ 36 congressional districts violate either the U.S. Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act, a panel of federal judges ruled Friday.

Shutterstock

All 36 of Texas’ congressional seats are on the ballot this fall, but only one of those races is considered truly competitive. The vast majority of state House and Senate races aren’t particularly competitive, either. One big reason: A lot of the state's districts are drawn to give one party or the other a big majority.

In Texas Case, Supreme Court Upholds One Person, One Vote

Apr 4, 2016
Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

In a unanimous decision released Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold Texas' current system for drawing legislative districts so that they are roughly equal in population.

Shutterstock

An obituary following his death June 20 called Daniel Weiser arguably the most powerful Dallas political figure who never sought elected office. Journalist Bob Ray Sanders explains in this commentary why voters in recent Dallas elections owe him a thank you.

Todd Wiseman/Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear a case that centers on how Texas draws its political districts, a longtime point of dispute between the state and voting rights advocates.

Texas Tribune

Once every decade, the city of Dallas reviews its charter and recommends changes in the way it governs to voters. 

Tonight, the Charter Review Commission will hold its last public meeting in Dallas City Council chambers. Members will decide May 6 which changes to put before voters in November.

Neil R (cc) flickr

The Supreme Court is allowing Texas to use congressional districts that were drawn by a lower federal court for the November election.

Neil R (cc) flickr

A federal court on Thursday rejected a Texas law that would require voters to present photo IDs to election officials before being allowed to cast ballots in November.

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