On Friday, a San Antonio Federal District Court ruled that Texas state legislature must redraw new congressional voting maps in three districts, citing “unconstitutional” and “intentional” racial gerrymandering.
According to The Hill, federal judges found Texas violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and intentionally discriminated against Latino and black voters.
A three-judge panel invalidated three districts, including one in Travis County.
The two judges who ruled for the plaintiffs found Republicans repeatedly tried to dilute the political power of Latino voters — either packing them into one specific district, or dividing communities between separate districts, a process called “cracking.”
The federal court ordered the legislature to redraw lines defining districts held by Texas representatives Will Hurd (R), Blake Farenthold (R), and Lloyd Doggett (D), says the report.
The 2-1 decision didn’t mandate an immediate fix and Texas could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judges Xavier Rodriguez and Orlando Garcia issued the following statement: “The Court finds that this evidence persuasively demonstrates that map drawers intentionally packed and cracked on the basis of race … with the intent to dilute minority voting strength.”
“The San Antonio Federal District Court ruled that Texas Republicans intentionally discriminated against Texas’ diverse new majority,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, the state Democrat Party chairman. “Tonight is a victory for the voting rights of all Texans. Republicans have ensured that the dark days of discrimination in Texas continue to loom, but the sun will soon shine. In time, justice prevails.”
Texas Democrats view the ruling as a victory that could give them more seats in Congress.
Disputes over district lines have been an ongoing battle. The recent ruling is the latest turn of events in a lengthy legal battle over the “Texas legislature’s efforts to give Republicans a leg up in congressional races in Texas — a fight that began even before district lines were finalized after the 2010 Census,” reports The Hill.
H/T: The Hill
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