By Greg Stohr, Bloomberg.com
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear an emergency challenge by Texas Republicans to maps that would govern next yearâ€™s state and federal elections, accepting a case that tests the power of judges to redraw voting-district lines.
Temporarily blocking a lower court order that put the maps in place, the court said last night it will hear the case on an expedited basis, with arguments on Jan. 9.
A panel of federal judges in San Antonio created the interim maps last month, voting 2-1 to put them in place for 2012 because of legal uncertainty over the districts created by the state legislature after the decennial census. Texas has yet to secure approval for those election districts from either the Justice Department or a federal court, as required by the U.S. Voting Rights Act.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott contends the panel overstepped its bounds and should have put in place interim maps that hewed more closely to the legislatureâ€™s plan.
â€œEven once a decade is too frequent for states to sacrifice their sovereignty in this way or for courts to be put in the untenable position of drawing political lines from scratch,â€ Abbott argued in court papers.
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