Federal Court Rejects Texas Redistricting Plan

The court said that the plan, drawn by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature, discriminates against Black and Latino voters.

Posted: 08/30/2012 12:09 PM EDT
Texas redistricting plan

Once again a court has struck down a redistricting plan in Texas — this time by a federal court that said the new district lines discriminate against Black and Latino voters.

The ruling was issued by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The new state district maps, which were passed by the Republican-dominated Texas legislature, reshaped districts in a way that reduced the influence of minority voters, the court ruled.

By rejecting the redistricting plan, the federal court prohibited the new districts from being created before they could take effect for the Nov. 6 presidential election. Instead, the election will use interim maps drawn by a federal court in San Antonio. 

Greg Abbott, the Texas Attorney General, said the state would file an appeal with the United States Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court threw out a redistricting plan crafted by a panel of federal judges in Texas — an electoral map that favored African-American and Latino residents.

At that time, the justices said that the federal court had not given sufficient consideration to the plan of the state legislature and that it had imposed its own values over those of the state’s officials. 

Last year, the Obama administration blocked the Republican-drawn maps, asserting that the redistricting plan violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a law designed to protect the voting rights of minorities, primarily African-Americans in Southern states. 

Luis Vera, an attorney for the League of United Latin American Citizens, called the ruling "better late than never" and a win for his and other minority rights groups that sued the state over the maps.

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(Photo: Texas Legislative Council)


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