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The Supreme Court has devastated a voting rights group that was challenging the Texas congressional maps, as it alleged that the maps were drawn to limit the voting power of minority groups.
The Supreme Court dismissed the case on Monday, Reuters reported.
The justices declined to review a ruling by a three-judge federal district court panel denying an injunction against the reconfigured state Senate district sought by the challengers. The plaintiffs have argued that the district’s redrawn boundaries resulted from intentional racial discrimination against them in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law.
The dispute centers on a state Senate district that includes part of the city of Fort Worth in north-central Texas.
The district is currently held by Democratic state Senator Beverly Powell. But she dropped her re-election bid last April, calling the race “unwinnable” because of the way the legislature had redrawn the district’s boundaries. Following the Nov. 8 election, the newly configured district will be represented by Republican Phil King, who ran unopposed.
Black and Hispanic plaintiffs sued after the Texas legislature approved new electoral maps in 2021. They argued that they had been “splintered” into other Senate districts where they will be “overpowered” by white voters.
This month the j.jSupreme Court has rejected a challenge to a federal ban imposed under former President Donald Trump on devices called “bump stocks.”
“The justices declined to review an appeal by a group of firearms dealers and individuals in Minnesota, Texas, and Kentucky after a lower court rejected their argument that the government had violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment takings clause by effectively taking their private property without just compensation,” Reuters reported.
“Trump’s administration moved to reclassify bump stocks as machine guns, which are forbidden under U.S. law, in a rare firearms control measure prompted by a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. The Supreme Court in 2019 declined to block the ban from going into effect. The justices last month rejected appeals by a Utah gun lobbyist and firearms rights groups of lower court rulings upholding the ban as a reasonable interpretation of a federal law prohibiting machine gun possession,” the outlet added.
“Bump stocks use a gun’s recoil to bump its trigger, enabling a semiautomatic weapon to fire hundreds of rounds per minute to let it shoot like a machine gun. Trump pledged to ban them after a gunman used semiautomatic weapons outfitted with bump stocks in a shooting spree that killed 58 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), a U.S. Justice Department agency, reversed a previous conclusion and classified bump stocks as machine guns under a 1934 U.S. law called the National Firearms Act. The policy took effect in 2019,” the outlet added.
Last month, the Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit from gun rights groups to challenge a ban on bump stocks.
“The decision not to hear the two related cases, a blow for gun rights activists, leaves the ban in place. The conservative-majority court issued a major ruling in June that expanded gun rights, although the legal issues in the bump stock cases were different,” NBC News reported.
“The ban, implemented by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, went into effect in 2019 after the Supreme Court declined to block it. Since then, the already conservative court has tilted further to the right, with conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump appointee, replacing liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in 2020,” the outlet added.
NBC News reported:
The bump stocks challenge, however, did not deal directly with the scope of the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. The challengers instead said the government did not have authority to ban bump stocks under the National Firearms Act, a law enacted in 1934 to regulate machine guns. In 1968, the Gun Control Act expanded the definition of machine gun to include accessories “for use in converting a weapon” into a machine gun, and the ATF concluded when it issued the ban that bump stocks meet that definition.
The groups challenging the ban said the legal definition of machine gun has been distorted beyond recognition and argue that courts should not defer to the federal agency’s interpretation.
The court turned away two related appeals, one brought by Clark Aposhian, a Utah gun lobbyist who had purchased a bump stock before the ban took effect, and another led by Gun Owners of America and other gun rights groups. Lower courts upheld the ban, although judges on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals were divided in both cases.