Abbott v. Perez

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Election Law
  • Date Filed: June 25, 2018
  • Case #: 17-586
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which GORSUCH, J., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and KAGAN, JJ., joined.
  • Full Text Opinion

28 U. S. C. §1253 grants jurisdiction for review where an order has the same practical effect as an order granting or denying an injunction and past discrimination does not affect the presumption of legislative good faith in the case of a legislature’s redistricting plan.

Texas’s population growth in 2010 resulted in Petitioners' adoption of a new congressional districting plan for the two houses of its legislature. Respondents filed lawsuits alleging Petitioners’ new districting plan and maps violated the Equal Protection Clause and §2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The District Court for the Western District of Texas invalidated several districts in Petitioners’ 2011 and 2013 plans on the grounds that the districts resulted from intentional discrimination, racial gerrymandering, or vote dilution in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and the VRA. First, the Supreme Court reasoned that 28 U. S. C. §1253 granted jurisdiction to review, because the district court’s orders had the same practical effect as an order granting or denying an injunction, regardless of how the district court labeled the orders. Turning to the merits of the appeal, the Court reasoned that the district court erred by ignoring the presumption of legislative good faith by requiring Petitioners to show a lack of intentional discrimination in its 2013 plan because of prior discrimination in 2011 plan. Upon reversing the district court’s intent finding, the Court held only one of the districts legally infirm as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. REVERSED IN PART, AFFIRMED IN PART, AND REMANDED.

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