Court Finds More Racial Gerrymandering in Texas Voting Maps

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 21, 2017

Rafael Anchia, head of the Texas House' Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the state. "It took almost six years of legislative and court battles to confirm that the party in power discriminated against communities of color when drawing Texas Congressional and House of Representative maps". In House Districts 103, 104 and 105 in Dallas County, the court said, Republicans drawing the map violated the VRA.

"In almost every instance since the 1970s Supreme Court decision in White v. Regester, the Texas Legislature has drawn electoral maps in violation of the Constitutional protections against discrimination and the Voting Rights Act", Anchia said in a statement.

"The impact of the plan was certainly to reduce minority voting opportunity statewide, resulting in even less proportional representation for minority voters", the court said.

Democratic state Rep. Scott Inman says he will run for Oklahoma governor next year after serving as the leader of the House Democratic caucus for seven years. "This is shameful and unacceptable". In a dissenting opinion, Fifth Circuit appeals court judge Jerry Smith, the sole voice of dissent in both that case and in Thursday's redistricting ruling, called the finding of bias a "misunderstanding" and that the maps were just retooled for "partisan advantage".

"We respectfully disagree with the redistricting panel's 2-1 decision", Paxton wrote in his prepared statement. "Accordingly, we are confident we will ultimately prevail in this case".

The latest 2-1 ruling by federal panel in San Antonio found that Texas tried intentionally weakening the influence of minorities by "wasting Latino votes" around Dallas, Houston and other areas across the state.

The same three-judge panel last month ruled that three Texas congressional districts were drawn in order to weaken minority power.

In addition to the rulings on the US and Texas House maps, Texas suffered another legal defeat this month when a Corpus Christi federal judge ruled that the state's voter ID law was enacted in 2011 with the intent to discriminate against minority voters. The judges also found improper racial gerrymandering in Bexar County.

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