Court rejects Texas legislative districts as discriminatory against Latinos
A three-judge federal court threw out the Texas legislative districts drawn by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature, holding that they discriminated against Latinos and blacks and violated the Voting Rights Act.
The decision, if upheld on appeal, will force Texas lawmakers to redraw the districts for Congress and the state Legislature so as to elect a greater number of minority legislators.
The ruling will not affect the November elections, however. Earlier this year, federal judges in Texas drew an interim districting plan to be used this year only.
Because Texas has a history of racial discrimination in voting, it is required under the Voting Rights Act to get approval from Washington before changing its election rules. The state’s attorneys chose to bypass the Obama administration and the Justice Department and instead went before a three-judge panel.
But in Tuesday’s opinion, the unanimous court dealt a surprisingly strong and broad rebuke to the Texas Legislature. The judges found that the GOP leaders had deliberately manipulated the district lines to shore up incumbent white Republicans, to undercut black Democrats and to dilute the voting power of the growing Latino population.
Read more at the LA Times