LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Allen v. Milligan, a lawsuit that challenged Alabama’s discriminatory redistricting maps, is an important victory for democracy and holds implications for other ongoing challenges to recently drawn maps.
Specifically, the court’s 5-4 decision that Alabama’s congressional redistricting map likely dilutes Black voting strength in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA) provides clear guidance in a lawsuit involving Texas’ statewide maps.
In 2021, MALDEF filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Latinos challenging Texas redistricting maps because the maps violate the VRA and dilute the voting strength of Latino voters. The case, known as LULAC v. Abbott, is pending in El Paso federal court before Judge Jerry E. Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and United States District Court judges David C. Guaderrama and Jeffrey V. Brown. The parties are in the process of concluding discovery and are waiting for the three-judge panel to set a trial date.
Nina Perales, MALDEF vice president of litigation issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s ruling and its significance in the Texas redistricting challenge:
“The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Allen v. Milligan affirmed the traditional test for Voting Rights Act cases – a test that has been in place for four decades. MALDEF built its case challenging the Texas redistricting plans on this traditional approach. Like the plaintiffs in Alabama, we assert that the 2021 Texas political maps illegally cut up minority communities instead of creating districts that respect minority population growth. The Allen v. Milligan decision does not change how judges apply the Voting Rights Act. However, by rejecting Alabama’s arguments, the Supreme Court closed the door on fringe theories that undermine voting rights, and Texas will not be able to rely on those fringe arguments, to the extent that Texas was considering doing so in the redistricting case.”