Tuesday, 24 April, 2018


Supreme Court will look at Texas gerrymandering case, Internet sales tax

NATION-NOW     Supreme Court will decide if online retailers must collect sales tax     
       Supreme Court will consider online sales taxes NATION-NOW Supreme Court will decide if online retailers must collect sales tax Supreme Court will consider online sales taxes
Patty Aguilar | 13 January, 2018, 09:12

This comes after years of controversy and litigation surrounding the district maps, which were first legally challenged in 2011 after the Texas Legislature drafted new state and congressional districts to keep up with the state's quickly expanding population.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to review the results of the way Texas' political boundaries were drawn, which could have ramifications this November that affect both the makeup of the Legislature and the state's congressional delegation. The battles have led to lawsuits in Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wyoming, among others.

Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which granted a temporary suspension of the lower court rulings.

"We are eager for the chance to present our case before the U.S. Supreme Court", said Paxton, a Republican who has argued that the two Texas maps were not meant to discriminate against minority voters.

Last summer, after the three-judge panel invalidated some of the congressional and state House districts, finding they violate the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Voting Rights Act, the state and plaintiffs had been preparing to meet to take up remedial maps, when the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the lower court ruling and the hearings were canceled. But the Wisconsin and Maryland cases already give them an opportunity to do something they have never done: strike down election districts because of politics, rather than race. "Asking today's companies to undertake it when they do substantial business with a state's citizens imposes no undue burden", the state wrote. A victory for challengers in either case could place other states' districts in jeopardy as well. It found similarly that the state's legislative district maps were flawed.

Michael Li, a redistricting expert for the Brennan Center for Justice, said courts have been skittish about making changes too close to an election, not wanting to risk sparking voter confusion. Instead, Texas asked the Supreme Court to put the rulings on hold until justices could review the ruling's merits.

More often, lawmakers use computer software programs that have vastly improved the art of line-drawing for partisan advantage.

"The need for legislative action on e-fairness is more urgent than ever before", said U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R., S.D.) "If the Supreme Court rules in South Dakota's favor, it could become a marketplace free-for-all". While the state is considered a battleground in national and statewide elections, Republicans designed state Assembly districts that have given them a almost 2-to-1 edge in seats. Doggett's district was essentially overloading it with Democrat-leaning minority voters, the judges said. The ruling came with a three-day deadline for Governor Abbott to call a special session to address the maps - Paxton appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which then halted the lower-court ruling while they looked into the case.

Oral argument in the case was heard in October, when the justices appeared divided over the issue. "Although we would have preferred the Supreme Court to let the cases proceed below to a remedy, we are heartened by the decision of the Supreme Court to leave open the question of its jurisdiction", Perales said in a statement.

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