Supreme Court will review effects of Texas redistricting

Protesters brave the heat in July 2017 outside of the John H. Wood Jr. Federal Courthouse during a demonstration about suppression of the minority vote due to the redrawing of districts. The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted the redistricting case Friday

Supreme Court will review effects of Texas redistricting

On the gerrymandering front, the Supreme Court already has heard a challenge to the way Wisconsin Republicans drew legislative district maps.

The state's congressional and statehouse maps were struck down by federal courts a year ago after judges ruled they intentionally discriminate against minorities.

The high court could hear oral arguments in the case as soon as April.

Last year, a three-judge panel in San Antonio ruled that two congressional districts (including San Antonio Congressman Lloyd Doggett's) and nine House districts were crafted to suppress Latino voters, and that the districts would need to be redrawn.

In ruling against the maps past year, a three-judge panel in San Antonio sided with the voting and minority rights groups who accused Republican lawmakers of discriminating against voters of color, who tend to vote for Democrats, in drawing the maps.

Congress still has a role to play, said Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation: "Even if the court rules in favor of a modern sales tax policy, legislation will still be needed to spell out how that would work".

The Supreme Court's decision to weigh the state's appeal will further delay any redrawing efforts even after nearly seven years of litigation between state attorneys and voting and minority rights groups that challenged the maps.

States and counties told the court they lose between $13 billion and $34 billion each year because they can not collect sales taxes on all online purchases.

The Supreme Court case, Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission, was cited by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in February when it agreed to consider an appeal by the CFPB on whether the agency's single-director structure is unconstitutional.

Also joining the push for Supreme Court review were brick-and-mortar retailers that say it undermines fair competition that they have to collect sales taxes but their online rivals don't.

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Companies now "can instantly tailor their marketing and overnight delivery of hundreds of thousands of products to individual customers based on their IP addresses; these companies can surely calculate sales tax from a zip code".

They said that the number of taxing jurisdictions in the United States is estimated at between 10,000 and 16,000.

If the Supreme Court overruled its past restrictions on the states, small and medium-size online businesses would suffer, Wayfair and its fellow defendants said.

They added that the court "should not allow the government to use its institutions as a tool to persecute its political enemies when there is not any plausible justification for the lawsuit". Led by South Dakota, 36 states want the court to take another look at the issue, arguing that the 1992 decision was issued "before Amazon was even selling books out of Jeff Bezos's garage".

In Friday's announcement, the court said nothing about a related appeal by the Texas Democratic Party, which argued that the two maps should be tossed out for improper partisan gerrymandering.

At issue is whether the SEC's administrative law judges are employees or, because they wield significant decision-making authority, are "inferior officers" covered by the Constitution's "appointments clause".

The case is brought by Raymond Lucia, a former California radio host and investment adviser known for his "Buckets of Money" strategy.

The case dates to 2014, when Cameron Elliot, an administrative law judge who worked for the SEC, recommended that PHH disgorge more than $6 million in damages for taking illegal kickbacks in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

It is also notable because it is another case for which the Trump administration's Justice Department switched sides.

The case is Lucia v. SEC.

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