— Texas went directly to court to seek approval of the redistricting plan passed by its Republican-dominated legislature. The state had been awarded four new congressional seats because of its population growth, about two-thirds of which is in the Hispanic community. But Latino groups say the new maps do not reflect the political power that should come with the growth.
— South Carolina hired former Bush administration solicitor general Paul D. Clement to challenge the Justice Department’s rejection of its voter-ID bill, an indication the state believes the issue could end up at the Supreme Court.
But the cases most likely to reach the high court first are from two small communities — Shelby County, Ala., and Kinston, N.C. They each make direct challenges to Congress’s authority in 2006 to renew Section 5 for another 25 years. Both draw on the concerns of the court expressed in the 2009 case — Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number 1 v. Holder — about whether Congress did enough to ensure that the extraordinary demands of Section 5 are still justified.