WASHINGTON-The Supreme Court signaled that it isn't eager to weigh in again on the thorny issue of political gerrymandering, passing up a chance to review congressional districts from North Carolina after refusing to issue broad-ranging rulings in similar cases last week.
The ruling is the latest in the long-running battle over Texas's legislative maps following the 2010 census, with the GOP-dominated state trying to maximize its votes. It could return to the Supreme Court quickly, perhaps in time for the term that begins in October.
"The Washington State Supreme Court now has the job of determining whether the U.S. Supreme Court ruling affects this case", Ferguson said.
Instead, the high court is ordering the Washington Supreme Court to take a fresh look at the case.More news: World Cup qualifying scenarios for every team before final group games
CNN legal analyst and University of Texas Law School professor Steve Vladeck said the court sending the case back to lower courts was "effectively leaving it to those courts, in the first instance, to sort out just how broad or narrow their" decision in the cakeshop decision was.
A federal court blocked the 2011 maps and hastily put in place a tweaked version ahead of the 2012 elections for Congress and the state legislature. The ACLU also filed a suit on the couple's behalf, in addition to the Attorney General. A lower court's unanimous decision said the districts violated the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, and ordered the state to quickly redraw the map. A Maryland case (Benisek v. Lamone) actually involved an effort to keep the allegedly gerrymandered congressional district in question from being utilized in the November midterms, and the court rejected that bid and sent the rest of it back for further deliberations.
The lower court had used that reasoning to rule against the 35th District, finding in part that Texas enacted the 2013 plan "as part of a litigation strategy" to insulate that map from challenges.
"Not only does the direct evidence suggest that the 2013 Legislature lacked discriminatory intent, but the circumstantial evidence points overwhelmingly to the same conclusion", wrote Associate Justice Samuel Alito.More news: Eurogroup reaches agreement on final loan and debt relief for Greece
The majority's holding that the district court had applied the wrong test resolved nearly all of the case in Texas' favor, leaving only four districts that the district court had invalidated for reasons other than discriminatory intent.
The three-judge court concluded that some districts were nearly identical to the earlier versions and were rife with racial bias.
The court upheld three of four district maps in Texas that critics argued intentionally discriminated against minority voters, but struck down one.
But not waiting for the process to play out truncated things at a critical time, the liberal justices complained when the case came before the court in April.More news: Neymar can't take sole responsibility for Brazil: Coach