Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will consider whether Texas lawmakers drew electoral maps used in the last three election cycles that suppressed black and Hispanic voters’ political clout.

Why it matters: A court decision, likely by June, could reshape two congressional and nine state legislative district lines before the state Legislature is required to do another round of redistricting after the 2020 census. Since Hispanic and black voters overwhelmingly vote Democratic, a ruling against the state would put Republican-held seats in play for Democrats.

The back story: In 2011, a federal court struck down the maps drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature as unconstitutional, and quickly approved temporary lines in time for the 2012 elections.

  • In 2013, the legislature decided to keep using those temporary maps until a new round of redistricting after the 2020 census.
  • Last summer, a federal court struck those maps down. In the August ruling, the court sided with minority rights groups that accused GOP lawmakers of violating the Voting Rights Act by packing minorities into some districts and splintering them to dilute their voting strength.
  • But weeks later, the Supreme Court, along ideological lines, blocked the lower court’s redrawing. It would have enacted new maps ahead of this year's midterms to remedy the racial gerrymanders. Texas appealed to preserve the maps.

What to watch: The justices would have to first determine whether they have the jurisdiction to rule on the case. Pam Karlan, the lead counsel for the plaintiffs, told reporters Monday during a press call that if the high court insists on hearing the case, voting rights groups hope it affirms the lower court ruling.

  • If the case is sent back to the lower court for a remedy, Karlan said civil rights groups would request that Texas be placed under federal review — a condition to safeguard voters of color from discrimination.

Until recently, the justices have expressed deep reservations about wading into partisan squabbles over gerrymandering, but the court has struck down maps that relied too heavily on race. This is the third redistricting case on its docket this term. The justices have also heard cases on partisan redistricting in Wisconsin and Maryland.

Go deeper: Here's where the big redistricting court fights stand

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Deadly Hurricane Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm moved into Alabama overnight.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," it began lashing Alabama late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

50 mins ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Consumer confidence sinking Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.