A U.S. federal court ruled on Tuesday that a controversial Texas redistricting map discriminates against black and Hispanic voters, effectively killing the new districts before they could take effect for the Nov. 6 presidential election.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued the ruling. The state map, passed by the Republican-dominated Texas legislature, redrew districts in a way that reduced the influence of minority voters, the court ruled.
November's election will instead use interim maps drawn by a federal court in San Antonio.
The Obama administration in 2011 blocked the maps, arguing they violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a law designed to protect the voting rights of minorities, primarily blacks in Southern states.
In blocking the map, the court could have stopped at ruling that it had a discriminatory effect, but it took the further step of ruling that the Texas legislature had a discriminatory intent in its drawing of the map.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement that he would appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. He called the ruling an extension of the Voting Rights Act beyond what Congress had intended.
The three-judge panel consisted of Judge Thomas Griffith and Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, who were both appointed by President George W. Bush - formerly the governor of Texas - and Judge Beryl A. Howell, appointed by President Barack Obama.
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