Court finds more racial gerrymandering in Texas voting maps

Elizabeth Williams
April 21, 2017

"Today's ruling on the state House map proved what we've known all along - Republicans in the Legislature cynically and intentionally divided minority voters so Republicans could enhance their power", said Grand Prairie's Rep. Chris Turner, head of the House Democratic Caucus.

It's another blow to Texas this year over voting rights. He noted the 2011 redistricting Texas House maps were superseded by new maps in 2013, referencing a remark by the dissenting judge in the case referencing that.

One-person, one-vote violations in Nueces County (HD 32 and HD 34), Hidalgo County (HD 31, HD 36, HD 39, HD 40, and HDS 41), and Bell and Lampasas Counties (HD 54 and HD 55) Thursdays ruling comes just a month after the same court ruled that two San Antonio congressional districts and one in Corpus Christi had been illegally redrawn by state lawmakers in order to diminish the voting power of the state's growing minority population.

Democrats immediately pressed Republican legislative leaders to allow new maps to be drawn. "This is shameful and unacceptable". "As Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith observed in his dissent, the challenge to the old 2011 maps are not only moot but 'a finding that racial considerations were dominant and controlling defies everything about this record.' Accordingly, we are confident we will ultimately prevail in this case".

The districts were redrawn in 2011 after the 2010 Census.

"We respectfully disagree with the redistricting panel's 2-1 decision", Paxton wrote in his prepared statement. "The impact of the plan was certainly to reduce minority voting opportunity statewide, resulting in even less proportional representation for minority voters", said the three-judge panel based in San Antonio in its 2-1 decision, which found problems in a slate of House districts in counties including Bexar and Harris. A voter ID law it passed in 2011 has twice been found to have been enacted with intention of discrimination against minorities by a federal judge-the second time after using a higher legal standard laid out by an appeals court.

Garcia was appointed by President Bill Clinton and had served as a Democratic member of the Texas House.

Other reports by VgToday

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