Federal court issues new political maps for Texas

By APRIL CASTRO | November 17, 2011 | 6:15 PM EST

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal court has issued new political maps for the 2012 election in Texas that some say will give Democrats a greater chance of winning seats in Congress and the Legislature.

The maps will stay in place until a lawsuit challenging earlier maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature is resolved.

The lawsuit claims the maps drawn by lawmakers prevent minority groups from electing their choice of candidate. A federal court also has refused to approve the original maps in a separate case in Washington after agreeing there's sufficient evidence to question whether the new maps hurt minority representation.

Lawmakers redraw districts every 10 years to reflect changes in the U.S. census. Texas is among states with a history of racial discrimination that must win federal approval of new maps.