Texas redistricting Supreme Court showdown set to begin
The United States Supreme Court will gear up for a rare Monday afternoon session that has Latinos square in the middle of a Texas redistricting showdown that has four new congressional seats up for grabs that could determine which party has control of the House of Representatives in 2013.
The complicated legal fight over Texas’ political maps arises from the state’s population gain of more than 4 million people, two thirds of which are Hispanic in the 2010 census, and involves federal district courts in Texas and Washington, as well as the Supreme Court. It has come to a head now because Texas needs to be able to use some maps to hold elections this year.
The state has so far failed to persuade three judges in Washington, including two appointees of Republican President George W. Bush, to sign off on new political maps adopted by the Legislature. The justices jumped into the case at Texas’ request after judges in San Antonio who are hearing a lawsuit filed by minority groups drew their own political lines for use in the 2012 elections.
Texas Republicans were in complete control of the redistricting process that is required following the once-a-decade census. They faced the happy prospect of adding four new congressional seats by virtue of Texas’ huge population gain since the last census in 2000. Texas will have 36 seats in the 435-member U.S. House next year.
Republican lawmakers in Austin, the Texas capital, did what majority parties in statehouses across the country do when given such an opportunity: They made the most of it, drawing maps for the state House and Senate, and the U.S. House aimed at maximizing Republican gains.
To do this they carefully distributed Democratic voters, including Latinos and African-Americans.
But Latino and African-American groups, as well as the Texas Democratic Party, complained that the result ran afoul of the Voting Rights Act’s prohibition against diluting the ability of minorities who had suffered under official discrimination from electing representatives of their choice.
Read the full story at Fox News Latino