By Chris Tomlinson
AUSTIN — The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Congress must come up with a new formula for the Voting Rights Act, a decision that may clear the way for Texas to enforce voter identification laws and political maps that federal judges said discriminate against minorities.
The act required some states, including Texas, to get preclearance before changing election laws. The justices said in 5-4 vote that the law relies on 40-year-old data that does not reflect racial progress in U.S. society.
Until Congress comes up with a new formula to decide which states require preclearance, Texas may enforce new laws without it. Citizens may still challenge those laws in court after they take effect.
Texas had appealed two federal court rulings blocking new political maps and voter id laws.