District court asked to provide additional legal support for changes made in court’s plan

WASHINGTON, DC — Moments ago, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in Perez v. Perry that affirms the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act’s preclearance provisions and instructs the district court on requirements for redrawing the Texas congressional, senate and house redistricting plans. In the case, MALDEF has challenged redistricting plans that discriminate against Latino voters.

In its ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to allow Texas to put its congressional, state senate and state house redistricting plans into effect because they have not been precleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

The Supreme Court further ruled that the federal court that drew interim redistricting maps for Texas must re-draw its interim plans and provide additional legal support for the plans. For that reason, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings. In its opinion, the Supreme Court provided additional guidelines for the trial court’s next interim plans.

Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, stated, “The Supreme Court has yet again reaffirmed Texas’ obligation to comply with the Voting Rights Act (VRA). With this further high Court vindication, the Latino population’s right to fair representation should and will be reflected in interim and final Texas district maps for the next decade. Regrettably, the State’s obstinate refusal to recognize Latino voting rights will require yet further court proceedings to secure VRA compliance.”

MALDEF Vice President of Litigation Nina Perales added, “Today’s decision affirms the critical role of the federal Voting Rights Act in protecting minority voters. The Court rejected the request by Texas in this appeal to be allowed to implement its redistricting plans despite the fact that the plans have not been precleared under the Voting Rights Act. We believe the plans discriminate against Latino voters and are pleased that the Supreme Court refused to allow Texas to proceed with its discriminatory redistricting plans. We look forward to further proceedings in the federal court in Texas to again secure fair interim maps for all Texans.” Perales led the presentation of evidence at trial in Perez v. Perry and represents the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force in the case.

The 2010 Census showed that Latinos accounted for 65% of the population growth in Texas, and that Latinos are largely responsible for Texas gaining 4 additional congressional seats. MALDEF has been at the forefront of this fight to ensure that the political strength of Latinos is accurately reflected in the new redistricting plans.

View the Supreme Court Opinion here.