Court Throws Out 'Discriminatory' Texas Congressional Map

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In 2011, Rick Perry said the courts shouldn't be drawing the lines. I wonder what he'd say if the Dems were in the majority!

Yee haw! Texans are going to have to draw a new, fair congressional district map for 2014. I love what the judges said: They didn't even have to look at all the evidence to see the discriminatory intent:

In a lengthy, sweeping decision, a federal court in Washington on Tuesday unanimously struck down Texas' new congressional map, ruling that the plan was enacted with "discriminatory purpose" against Hispanics protected under the Voting Rights Act.

The three-judge panel ruled that Texas legislators drew a map that intentionally denied fair representation to Hispanic voters during the state's decennial redistricting process. On a narrower, 2-1 basis, the court also ruled that the new map "does not entitle minorities to proportional representation."

The court ruled that, even though Texas gained four congressional seats in redistricting, it did not gain any Hispanic "ability districts," seats where Hispanic voters have the power in numbers to elect a preferred candidate. What's more, the court found "discriminatory purpose" in the plan, writing that the maps were crafted with the purpose of diluting minority voting power.

"The only explanation Texas offers for this pattern is 'coincidence,'" the court ruled. "But if this was coincidence, it was a striking one indeed. It is difficult to believe that pure chance would lead to such results." The judges also noted that they did not even need to consider the full body of evidence presented before them to conclude that Texas acted with discriminatory intent in crafting the maps.

The intervenors in the lawsuit argued that Texas's new Hispanic ability seats, the 34th and 35th Districts, were counteracted by the loss of three ability districts: the 23rd, 25th, and 27th seats. The court agreed unanimously in the case of the 23rd and 27th Districts and split on the 25th.

[...] Texas filed suit in U.S. District Court to have its new election maps pre-cleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires some jurisdictions to prove that their election laws "have neither the effect nor the purpose of abridging minority voting rights." In addition to the new congressional map, the court also found that new maps for the state House and state Senate each violated one provision of that statute.

This year's elections are proceeding under different, interim maps developed by a separate federal court in San Antonio. Those maps will remain in place until, barring appeal, Texas will be forced to once again redraw their election maps prior to the 2014 elections.

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