The complicated legal fight over redistricting in Texas is playing out in three federal courts. In addition to the Supreme Court and federal court in San Antonio, a three-judge court in Washington is evaluating the state plans under a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that forces states, mainly in the South, with a history of discrimination in voting to get advance approval before making any changes to the way they conduct elections.
Even without the Washington court's approval, Texas said it should be able to use its own maps just for this year because time is running short before the primaries.
The minority groups, as well as the Obama administration, say such an outcome is strictly forbidden by the Voting Rights Act and would, in essence, eviscerate the law's most potent weapon, the advance approval requirement, also known as preclearance.
The justices chose not to allow the state maps to be used without preclearance. But Thomas, who earlier had said he would strike down the advance approval requirement, said Texas' "duly enacted redistricting plans should govern the upcoming elections."
The cases, all dealt with in one opinion, are Perry v. Perez, 11-713, Perry v. Davis, 11-714, and Perry v. Perez, 11-715.