Division says Texas plan violates US voting legal guidelines by diluting power of Black, Latino and different minority voters.
The USA Justice Division has filed a lawsuit in opposition to Texas over the state’s redrawn congressional and state legislative districts, saying the brand new plan violates US voting legal guidelines by discriminating against minority voters.
The criticism, filed in US District Courtroom for the Western District of Texas on Monday, argues that the Texas maps of congressional and state legislative districts violate a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The lawsuit notes that the overwhelming majority of Texas’ inhabitants development over the previous decade got here from Black, Latino and Asian residents, however the brand new maps that state Republicans drew don’t give any of those communities new alternatives to decide on their very own representatives.
As an alternative, the maps pack Black and Latino communities into bizarre-shaped districts – a Dallas-area one is known as a “seahorse” form – whereas preserving protected seats for white Republicans.
Texas’ redistricting plans “deny or abridge the rights of Latino and Black voters to vote on account of their race, color or membership in a language minority group”, US Legal professional Common Merrick Garland mentioned throughout a information convention in Washington, DC, saying the lawsuit.
The case is the primary authorized motion difficult a state’s maps from US President Joe Biden’s administration throughout this redistricting cycle.
It comes amid a wave of litigation over pushes in Republican-controlled state legislatures to limit voting following the 2020 presidential elections. These efforts have been spurred by ex-President Donald Trump’s false claims that widespread fraud marred final 12 months’s vote.
The Brennan Heart for Justice, a New York College analysis centre that paperwork voting rights laws within the US, reported that at the very least 19 states enacted 33 legal guidelines that make it tougher for Individuals to vote between January 1 and September 27 of this 12 months.
In June, the Justice Division sued the state of Georgia over a restrictive new election regulation, and it filed another lawsuit in opposition to Texas in November over a brand new state regulation that limits mail-in voting, amongst different restrictions.
“This isn’t the primary time that Texas has acted to minimise the voting rights of its minority residents,” Affiliate Legal professional Common Vanita Gupta mentioned throughout Monday’s information convention. “Decade after decade, courts have discovered that Texas has enacted redistricting plans that intentionally dilute the voting power of Latino and Black voters and that violate the Voting Rights Act.”
In a tweet, Texas Legal professional Common Ken Paxton condemned the Justice Division’s lawsuit as an “absurd” intrusion by the Biden administration.
“The Division of Justice’s absurd lawsuit in opposition to our state is the Biden Administration’s newest ploy to manage Texas voters,” Paxton mentioned. “I’m assured that our legislature’s redistricting choices will probably be confirmed lawful, and this preposterous try to sway democracy will fail.”
Part 2 of the US Voting Rights Act prohibits mapmakers in US states from diluting the ability of minorities by scattering them amongst disparate districts.
A 2013 US Supreme Courtroom ruling gutted a provision of the Voting Rights Act that had required Texas and different states with a history of racial discrimination to have the Justice Division approve the maps earlier than they take impact.
“I need to once more urge Congress to revive the Justice Division’s preclearance authority. Have been that also in place, would seemingly not be right here right this moment saying this criticism,” Garland mentioned.