Court finds more racial gerrymandering in Texas voting maps
"Discussions among mapdrawers demonstrated a hostility to creating any new minority districts, as those were seen to be a loss of Republican seats, despite the massive minority population growth statewide", the ruling said. Go figure those districts just happen to encompass some of Texas' urban, left-leaning counties like Bexar, Harris, El Paso and Nieces. It is likely Texas will appeal those cases, given its history of fighting voting rights decision against it tooth-and-nail, meaning that the Supreme Court may get to weigh in on the state's relationship with the Voting Right Act. In its ruling, the court also found nine districts (in Bell, Hidalgo, Lampasas and Nueces counties) were drawn with uneven populations, in violation of the one person, one vote rule. He noted the 2011 redistricting Texas House maps were superseded by new maps in 2013, referencing a remark by the dissenting judge in the case referencing that. "This is shameful and unacceptable".
The districts were redrawn in 2011 after the 2010 Census. "As 5th Circuit Judge Jerry Smith observed in his dissent, the challenge to the old 2011 maps are not only moot but 'a finding that racial considerations were dominant and controlling defies everything about this record, '" Paxton said in a statement.
"We respectfully disagree with the redistricting panel's 2-1 decision", Paxton wrote in his prepared statement. "We are confident we will ultimately prevail in this case". Thursday's highly-anticipated ruling from the San Antonio-based panel of judges concluded that lawmakers intentionally tried to blunt the impact of the minority vote by diluting their power in a host of House districts across the state.
Today's ruling comes after a similar ruling last month, which said lawmakers diluted the influence of minority voters when they drew some of the state's congressional districts, a violation of the 14th Amendment. Earlier this month, a separate federal court found that a strict voter ID law was intentionally crafted to discriminate against minorities.
The panel included two Republican appointees. Rodriguez, a former Republican member of the Texas Supreme Court, was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush, and Smith was tapped by President Ronald Reagan.
Garcia was appointed by President Bill Clinton and had served as a Democratic member of the Texas House.