Texas redistricting case based on racial, not partisan, gerrymandering

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to examine partisan gerrymandering, announced Monday, came as lawyers in Texas were preparing for a July trial on whether state Republicans adopted districts in 2013 that were improperly drawn along racial lines.

Texas Democrats argue that Republican gains in the U.S. House and Texas House were made by improperly reducing the voting strength of Latinos and African Americans, who tend to support Democrats, in several districts.

But Republicans have long argued that the Texas maps were legally drawn to provide the GOP with a political advantage over Democrats — mirroring issues central to the Supreme Court case, which could have a far-reaching impact on how districts can be drawn based on partisan political support by voters, lawyers said Monday.

Such a decision, however, would likely come next year, too late to affect the case already underway in Texas — particularly with a five-day trial set to begin July 10 in San Antonio — keeping the Texas redistricting case focused on issues of racial gerrymandering, the lawyers said.

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