Texas Republicans' Gerrymandering Scheme Just Took A Beating In Court

Mar 13, 2017, 01:02
Texas Republicans' Gerrymandering Scheme Just Took A Beating In Court

In two of the districts - District 27 (which runs along the Gulf Coast), and District 35 (which spans from Austin to to San Antonio)- the court found that Latino communities were divided with the intent of diluting their political power.

"The political motive does not excuse or negate that use of race; rather, the use of race is ultimately problematic for precisely that reason - due to their political motive, they intentionally drew a district based on race in a location where such use of race was not justified by a compelling state interest", the ruling said.

The long-awaited ruling does not instruct the state on how to remedy the problem, but it does state three districts were drawn with the intent of "packing" Hispanic voters into their own heavily Democratic districts, thereby making other districts easier for Republicans to win. If appealed, the case might be bound for the Supreme Court.

Judge Smith attacked attorneys from the Justice Department in his dissent, saying they were on a "witch hunt".

They describe the 26th district as "the Denton County-based district that has the so-called "lightning bolt" extension into Tarrant County" which covers largely Hispanic neighborhoods.

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Except for the predominately African-American Congressional District 30, represented by Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson, "minorities have been consistently unable to elect candidates of their choice to the United States House in the DFW districts", the ruling states. That has consequences not just for state lawmaking, but the next round of congressional redistricting after 2020. "Accordingly, the Court finds that the districts in DFW are invalid".

The Lone Star Republic has been found guilty of gerrymandering. "Texas taxpayers will pay a hefty price for this decision, all because the Supreme Court effectively nullified the more efficient and cost-effective pre-clearance mechanism four years ago".

The Obama administration had brought the muscle of the U.S. Justice Department into Texas to help challenge both the maps and voter ID law.

Some of the state's 36 congressional districts violate either the U.S. Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act, a three-judge panel of federal judges ruled Friday.

This federal court's decision "hopefully will allow the court to put Texas back under federal supervision because it's clear now after the warnings in Texas voter I.D. and Texas redistricting that Texas needs to be under federal supervision for its voting changes", says Perales. "And the DoJ lawyers saw themselves as an expeditionary landing party arriving here, just in time, to rescue the state from oppression, obviously presuming that plaintiffs' counsel were not up to the task".