Texas court refuses to delay GOP-contested redistricting map

A federal court refused to block a new Texas congressional redistricting map that likely gives Democrats the edge in 2012.

A San Antonio-based federal court late Friday refused to block a new congressional redistricting map, setting up a battle between Texas GOP and Democratic interests that will next turn to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas released a new map last week that upped the chances for Democrats to take back the House in 2012. The new map was a response to a Republican-drawn map that was approved by the state Legislature earlier this year.

Minority groups had protested that the Republican map did not adequately reflect the states minority populations, and the Justice Department ruled in September that the map violated minority voting protections.

The new Democratic-drawn map gave minorities the majority in three new districts, a move likely to give Democrats an advantage in the next election.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) had asked the San Antonio-based court to hold implementation of the map pending appeal to the Supreme Court.

A courts job is to apply the law, not to make policy,Abbott wrote to the court. A federal court lacks constitutional authority to interfere with the expressed will of the state Legislature unless it is compelled to remedy a specific, identifiable violation of law.

But the court refused to delay implementation of the map. Abbotts office vowed to work quickly to prevent an election from taking place under the court-ordered map.