February 03, 2012
On January 20, 2012, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Perry v. Perez. This case involved efforts to redraw Texas’ electoral districts due to an increase of four million residents identified by the 2010 Census. Texas proposed a new electoral plan, but as a “covered jurisdiction” was required by the Voting Rights Act to obtain preclearance from a special court in Washington, D.C. before the plan could take effect. While Texas’ petition for preclearance was pending, several groups challenged the proposed plan in federal court in Texas, which then drafted an interim electoral plan for use in upcoming 2012 elections. The question before the Supreme Court was whether this interim plan improperly disregarded details of the plan proposed by Texas.
In a per curiam opinion, the Court unanimously held that it was unclear whether the federal court in Texas had followed appropriate standards in drafting its interim plan. The Court therefore vacated the interim plan and remanded the case for further proceedings. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion.
To discuss the case, we have Ilya Shapiro, who is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute.