The Justice Department is reportedly suing Texas over new redistricting maps, claiming the maps discriminate against Black and Latino voters who have fueled the state’s population boom.
The lawsuit, filed in the Western District of Texas on Monday, Dec. 6, alleges that the Republican-controlled state violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The case is the first legal action regarding a state’s maps brought by the Biden Justice Department during this redistricting cycle.
The Associated Press reports that the suit notes that the vast majority of the southern state’s population growth over the past 10 years has come from Black, Latino, and Asian people, however, the new maps that state GOP members drew don’t give any of these communities new opportunities to select their own representatives.
Rather, the maps put members of minority communities into bizarre-shaped districts while preserving safe seats for white Republicans.
“This is not the first time that Texas has acted to minimize the voting rights of its minority citizens,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said, according to the AP “Decade after decade, courts have found that Texas has enacted redistricting plans that deliberately dilute the voting strength of Latino and Black voters and that violate the Voting Rights Act.”
The lawsuit also highlights several districts where Republicans drew tortured lines to lower the share of Black and Latino voters in their party’s congressional districts.
This isn’t the first time Texas has been taken to court over congressional maps. In fact, Texas has had to defend its maps in court after every redistricting process since the Voting Rights Act took effect in 1965. It’s the first time since 2013 that a suit has been brought against the state since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling gutted a provision of the Voting Rights Act that had required Texas and other states with a history of racial discrimination to have the Justice Department approve the maps.