Federal court rules 3 GOP congressional districts discriminate against Hispanics

A federal court in San Antonio has ruled that three congressional districts currently held by Republicans must be redrawn because they discriminate against Hispanics. The court ruled the Texas legislature violated the Voting Rights Act by trying to "dilute" the power of the Hispanic vote.

The Hill:

In a 2-1 ruling, district court judges found the Texas legislature violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. They ordered the legislature to redraw lines defining districts held by Texas Reps. Will Hurd (R), Blake Farenthold(R) and Lloyd Doggett (D).

The two judges who ruled for the plaintiffs found Republicans repeatedly tried to dilute the political power of Latino voters — either packing them into one specific district, or dividing communities between separate districts, a process called "cracking."

"The Court finds that this evidence persuasively demonstrates that mapdrawers intentionally packed and cracked on the basis of race ... with the intent to dilute minority voting strength," Judges Xavier Rodriguez and Orlando Garcia wrote. 

Texas Democrats called the ruling a victory for voting rights.

"The San Antonio Federal District Court ruled that Texas Republicans intentionally discriminated against Texas’ diverse new majority," said Gilberto Hinojosa, the state Democratic Party chairman. "Republicans have ensured that the dark days of discrimination in Texas continue to loom, but the sun will soon shine. In time, justice prevails."

Texas Republicans did not immediately react to the ruling.

The decision is the latest step in a years-long legal battle over the Texas legislature's efforts to give Republicans a leg up in congressional races in Texas — a fight that began even before district lines were finalized after the 2010 Census.

The Voting Rights Act was never intended to guarantee the election of minority congressmen. But that's how the law has evolved over the years. Federal courts have taken it upon themselves to draw districts with majority black or Hispanic voters to make it more likely that a minority candidate will succeed.

This is contrary to the spirit of the Voting Rights Act and a racist idea at its core. In effect, the court is telling Hispanic voters that only an Hispanic can adequately represent them. Conversely, rulings like this feed the notion that minority candidates can't succeed in majority white districts or in statewide races despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

The Voting Rights Act served its purpose when there was rampant discrimination and racism against blacks and other minorities. But it has outlived its usefulness, as the Supreme Court recognized in 2013.

 

A federal court in San Antonio has ruled that three congressional districts currently held by Republicans must be redrawn because they discriminate against Hispanics. The court ruled the Texas legislature violated the Voting Rights Act by trying to "dilute" the power of the Hispanic vote.

The Hill:

In a 2-1 ruling, district court judges found the Texas legislature violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. They ordered the legislature to redraw lines defining districts held by Texas Reps. Will Hurd (R), Blake Farenthold(R) and Lloyd Doggett (D).

The two judges who ruled for the plaintiffs found Republicans repeatedly tried to dilute the political power of Latino voters — either packing them into one specific district, or dividing communities between separate districts, a process called "cracking."

"The Court finds that this evidence persuasively demonstrates that mapdrawers intentionally packed and cracked on the basis of race ... with the intent to dilute minority voting strength," Judges Xavier Rodriguez and Orlando Garcia wrote. 

Texas Democrats called the ruling a victory for voting rights.

"The San Antonio Federal District Court ruled that Texas Republicans intentionally discriminated against Texas’ diverse new majority," said Gilberto Hinojosa, the state Democratic Party chairman. "Republicans have ensured that the dark days of discrimination in Texas continue to loom, but the sun will soon shine. In time, justice prevails."

Texas Republicans did not immediately react to the ruling.

The decision is the latest step in a years-long legal battle over the Texas legislature's efforts to give Republicans a leg up in congressional races in Texas — a fight that began even before district lines were finalized after the 2010 Census.

The Voting Rights Act was never intended to guarantee the election of minority congressmen. But that's how the law has evolved over the years. Federal courts have taken it upon themselves to draw districts with majority black or Hispanic voters to make it more likely that a minority candidate will succeed.

This is contrary to the spirit of the Voting Rights Act and a racist idea at its core. In effect, the court is telling Hispanic voters that only an Hispanic can adequately represent them. Conversely, rulings like this feed the notion that minority candidates can't succeed in majority white districts or in statewide races despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

The Voting Rights Act served its purpose when there was rampant discrimination and racism against blacks and other minorities. But it has outlived its usefulness, as the Supreme Court recognized in 2013.

 

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