Court Finds More Racial Gerrymandering in Texas Voting Maps


For the second month in a row, a USA district court panel on Thursday afternoon found that a Texas district map illegally discriminates against minority voters.

"Thousands of minority voters are being denied their right to an equal opportunity to choose their elected representatives, just to preserve the party in power", Anchia said in a written statement.

According to the ruling, legislators reduced the number of house districts in Harris County, even though minority population growth argued for the creation of new seats.

The decision centered largely on a dozen districts in seven counties-Bell, Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Nueces and Tarrant-and the Rio Grande Valley.

But, like the prior ruling, the federal court didn't mandate any remedies or discuss how to correct the problems in Thursday's opinion.

However, both rulings - and proposed corrective action - will be discussed during an April 27 conference before the three-judge panel in San Antonio, lawyers said. "It took almost six years of legislative and court battles to confirm that the party in power discriminated against communities of color when drawing Texas Congressional and House of Representative maps". The maps originated in a House redistricting committee made up of 12 Republicans and five Democrats.

"Plaintiffs will ... discuss next steps in ensuring that these violations are corrected before the 2018 elections", said Allison Riggs, a lawyer with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

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Rafael Anchia, head of the Texas House' Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the state. "This is shameful and unacceptable".

Judge Jerry Smith, on loan to Texas' Western District from the 5th Circuit, accused Garcia and Rodriguez of misunderstanding the intent of the Republicans who redrew the map."Despite its heartfelt efforts, this panel majority has badly overreached in finding that Texas used race, instead of partisan advantage, as the predominant factor in the 2011 redistricting", Smith wrote. Thursday, a different panel ruled by the same 2-1 margin that Texas' House map does the same. "Accordingly, we are confident we will ultimately prevail in this case". Earlier this month, a separate federal court found that a strict voter ID law was intentionally crafted to discriminate against minorities.

Today's ruling comes after a similar ruling last month, which said lawmakers diluted the influence of minority voters when they drew some of the state's congressional districts, a violation of the 14th Amendment.

Racial gerrymandering in Bexar County (HD 117).

The panel included two Republican appointees.

"Republicans dealt Texas a deep moral wound".