LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Supreme Court in June held that the Texas Legislature’s 2013 redraw of House District 90 was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. House District 90 was challenged by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) on behalf of the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force and individual voters.
On Thursday, a three-judge panel issued an order saying that if the Texas Legislature fails to introduce a bill to redraw HD90 within 45 days of the next legislative session in 2019, the court will impose a new district for the 2020 elections.
Additionally, the court set filing deadlines for the parties to argue plaintiffs’ request that the State of Texas be required to submit its future voting-related changes to review and pre-clearance by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Please attribute the following statement on today’s order from the three-judge panel to Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF:
“Justice is sometimes a long time coming, but we must continue to strive toward greater fairness and strict adherence to constitutional imperative. This scheduling order from the three-judge court means that remedies can be put in place that will secure greater equity in Texas voting in the short remainder of this decade and that, even more important, will influence positively the district line-drawing to be completed in 2021. That redistricting will follow a 2020 Census that – absent any circumstances that would trigger a massive undercount of the large Texas Latino community – will once again show Texas as the national leader in population gain and in increased representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. These circumstances will render compliance with civil rights law and constitutional principle all the more imperative.
“One important potential remedy would require Texas to submit its future voting-related changes, including any 2021 redistricting plan, for review and pre-clearance before implementation. If the request is granted, this would be the second contested pre-clearance court order after the Supreme Court hobbled the legislative pre-clearance remedy in its 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The first such order was against the city of Pasadena, Texas following a successful MALDEF trial. We believe strongly that a pre-clearance order is warranted by the longstanding pattern of intentional discrimination by the state of Texas in redistricting and other voting-related matters.”
Please attribute the following statement to Nina Perales, vice president of litigation of MALDEF:
“We look forward to presenting a remedial plan for HD90 that cures the intentional racial discrimination in the district and provides Latino voters a fair opportunity to elect their candidate of choice. The Legislature is on notice that its redistricting of HD90 unconstitutionally discriminated against Latino voters and Texas must do better for the 2020 election and the next redistricting cycle.”