On Tuesday August 28, 2012, just as the Republican National Convention got underway, Federal judges struck down Texas lawmakers’ plans for new congressional and state legislative districts, finding the maps were designed to discriminate against minorities.
After months of deliberation, a three-judge Federal District Court panel in Washington, DC has ruled that the redistricting maps adopted by the Texas Legislature last year violate the US Voting Rights Act. The Court determined that Texas Republican leaders enacted maps that reduced the opportunity for minority voters in Texas to elect their candidates of choice. The court also ruled that the Legislature used a process that was intentionally discriminatory in adopting the Congressional and State Senate maps.
Luis Vera, attorney for the League of United Latin American Citizens (one of several minority rights groups who sued the state over the new maps), said: “The three-judge panel unanimously found intentional discrimination across the state. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it,”
At one point the presiding judge, Rosemary Collyer , even said: “It’s really hard to explain (changes to the map) other than doing it on the basis of reducing minority votes.”
Matt Angle of The Lone Star Project made this statement on the redistricting opinion:
“The Court’s decision is a major victory for Texas minority voters, and for important advocacy groups like the national NAACP and national LULAC. The Court’s decision is a damning indictment of Rick Perry and other Texas Republican leaders who, in a cynical attempt to hold on to power, engaged in intentional discrimination against Texas Latino and African American voters. Every fair-minded Texan familiar with the details of redistricting knew Republican leaders were violating the law.” Read on
How will this affect the 2012 elections? Well, it seems that Tuesday’s decision is on the permanent election maps under which future elections will be conducted. Whether or not the decision will have any bearing on the 2012 general election will take a while to sort out. Read more
Sources, read more:
- Press round up: The D.C. court rules on redistricting
- Federal Court Turns Back Texas’ Redistricting Plan
- Federal court: Discrimination in Texas voting maps
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