A congressional redistricting case could offer Texas Democrats a glimmer of hope for making gains in the Republican-dominated states if a new map takes effect shortly before the 2018 elections.

A panel of three federal judges in Texas concluded in March that three congressional districts in the 2011 congressional map violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting opportunities for minority communities to select candidates of their choice.

But the 2011 map is no longer in effect, since the state adopted a new map in 2013 amid ongoing litigation. The new map is also discriminatory, the plaintiffs allege, since some of the original boundaries from 2011 are still in place. The state government says the 2013 map is legal, since it was approved by the courts.

Revised congressional boundaries could create opportunities for Democrats looking to win back the House — but also challenges if they must quickly find formidable candidates in newly competitive races. And if a court redraws the state’s map, the GOP-led state government would lose control of a tool that lawmakers in Texas and across the country have relied on to stay in power.

“As usual, it’s an interesting time in Texas politics where we don’t really know what’s going to happen,” said Colin Strother, a Democratic consultant in the Lone Star State.

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