A key Supreme Court justice said Wednesday that Texas Republicans appeared to hurt minority voters when they redrew congressional boundaries that helped the GOP entrench its power in Congress.
But despite Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's misgivings, it did not appear there was broad support on the high court to throw out the entire map promoted by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas to help Republicans win six more seats.
The subject matter was extremely technical, and near the end of the argument Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dozed in her chair. Justices David Souter and Samuel Alito, who flank the 72-year-old, looked at her but did not give her a nudge.
The court has struggled in the past to define how much politics is acceptable when states draw new boundaries to reflect population shifts.
"That's a surprise," Justice Antonin Scalia joked. "Legislatures redraw the map all the time for political reasons."
Chief Justice John Roberts also aggressively challenged critics of the boundaries to explain what was wrong with Republican lawmakers drawing districts that benefit Republicans.