FEDERAL COURT BLOCKS TEXAS REDISTRICTING PLANS
MALDEF Secures Ruling that Texas Discriminated Against Latino Voters
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier today, a three-judge federal panel issued a ruling in Texas v. United States denying preclearance under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for three Texas statewide redistricting plans. MALDEF intervened on behalf of Latino voters to challenge the congressional and state House redistricting plans on the grounds that they that discriminated against Latino voters. Because Texas is a covered jurisdiction under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the U.S. Attorney General or a three-judge panel must approve, or "preclear," any redistricting plan before it can take effect. Texas sought a judgment from the court that its redistricting plans are not discriminatory and could be put into effect. Today’s decision denies preclearance and prevents Texas from implementing the maps, which were enacted in the 2011 legislative session.
In its ruling, the three-judge panel found that: the Congressional Plan reduces Latino voting strength and was enacted with discriminatory racial intent; the State House Plan reduces minority voting strength; and the State Senate Plan was enacted with discriminatory racial intent.
Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, stated, "The intransigent refusal of Texas officials to comply with the Voting Rights Act (VRA), particularly with regard to the state's rapidly-growing Latino population, has once again resulted in the possibility that Texas will be grappling with congressional and legislative redistricting well into the decade. Texas should abandon this obstreperous path and work to quickly adopt maps that comply with all sections of the VRA."
MALDEF Vice President of Litigation Nina Perales, added, "Today's decision is yet another nail in the coffin of the redistricting plans enacted by the Texas Legislature. The State should stop wasting money on further litigation and focus on securing fair election maps for all Texans."
In this case, MALDEF represented the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force, a statewide coalition of Latino organizations including Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), HOPE, the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas (MABA-TX), William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI), Southwest Workers Union and NOMAR.
To access the panel’s decision, click here.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.