Supreme Court to hear redistricting case, Texas primaries likely delayed

The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a Texas redistricting case in which the high court will examine the constitutionality of maps drawn by a federal court.

The court’s decision to take up the case at the behest of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott casts uncertainty over races for seats in both chambers of the Texas legislature, as well as for its 36 U.S. House seats.

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Because the high court will look into the constitutionality of district maps for both state chambers and U.S. House districts in the Lone Star State, those maps are temporarily on hold.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Abbott said in a legal document that he likely would be forced to push primary elections for both the Texas legislature and U.S. House to May.

"The Texas Attorney General's Office is committed to protecting the integrity of Texas' elections by ensuring they are conducted based on legally constructed redistricting maps," Abbott said in a Friday statement.

The Supreme Court has set an expedited briefing, setting a Jan. 9 hearing date for oral arguments.

“The justices’ action gave Texas much of what its lawyers had sought in their challenge to the three-judge U.S. District Court’s interim maps, which were crafted for use in the 2012 election cycle,” according to SCOTUSblog, an independent site that tracks the high court.

“It raises the strong possibility of a major new ruling on the power of federal judges to draw up redistricting plans while a state legislature’s own maps are under challenge in court,” SCOTUSblog wrote.

The filing period is open for another week for the state legislature and U.S. House races.

“It [is] unclear whether the filing period is now to be interrupted until after the cases are decided, and, if not, what districts would actually be used for purposes of candidates’ filing in the meantime,” according to SCOTUSblog.

Maps drawn by the state legislature this year also cannot be used because another federal court is reviewing their constitutionality.