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Texas Will Ask U.S. High Court to Review Voter Map Ruling

Texas gave notice that it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to approve the state’s electoral redistricting plan rejected this week by a special three-judge panel in Washington.

Texas, in a filing today in federal court in Washington, said it was appealing the Aug. 28 ruling that found voter boundaries created by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and backed by Republican Governor Rick Perry intentionally discriminated against Hispanics and blacks.

Today’s one sentence filing doesn’t say whether Texas will ask the Supreme Court to consider the case before the November election. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said on Aug. 28 that the state will use interim voter maps.

A federal court in San Antonio, which drew the interim maps for the primary election, has scheduled a hearing today for arguments on whether the maps can be used in the general election in November.

Texas is one of 16 jurisdictions with a history of voting rights violations that under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act need approval to change election procedures either from the Justice Department or a special panel composed of district and circuit court judges in Washington.

Yesterday, a Texas law requiring photo identification to vote was rejected by federal judges in Washington in a different case. The ruling by a separate special three-judge panel was the first time U.S. judges weighed in on the Obama administration’s effort to use the Voting Rights Act to block a state from requiring photo ID to participate in an election.

Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Abbott, and Mitchell Rivard, a Justice Department spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to e-mail messages seeking comment on the filing.

The case is Texas v. U.S., 11-cv-01303, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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