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New Maps in Store for Texas
Comments from Matt Angle, Executive Director of the Lone Star Project
"Texas Republican's opted to draw illegal redistricting plans by undermining the rights of millions of Texas voters. The DC Federal Court rebuked that strategy today." "The Court has justified the efforts those with the courage and tenacity to fight Texas Republican leaders. Leaders like Representative Marc Veasey, Senator Wendy Davis and Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks deserve credit for standing up for Texas voters."
Earlier today, a three-judge panel in the DC Federal District Court denied a motion by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott that all three Texas redistricting plans be approved without a trial on the merits of the plans. The Court ruling has the practical effect of blocking the use of the Republican plans for the 2012 elections. Congressional, State House and State Senate plans used for the 2012 elections will now be drawn by a three judge federal panel in San Antonio. The Texas Court is expected to order new plans by the end of November.
Texas Republicans have pursued a cynical strategy to draw overtly partisan maps by undermining the voting strength of Hispanic and African American voters. They attempted to avoid strong enforcement of the US Voting Rights Act by avoiding the US Department of Justice and seeking approval directly from the federal courts. The GOP strategy has failed badly. After squandering hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in taxpayer money on legal and administrative fees, the GOP plans cannot be used for the 2012 elections.
The Court order states:
"Having carefully considered the entire record and the parties’ arguments, the Court finds and concludes that the State of Texas used an improper standard or methodology to determine which districts afford minority voters the ability to elect their preferred candidates of choice and that there are material issues of fact in dispute that prevent this Court from entering declaratory judgment that the three redistricting plans meet the requirements of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act." (emphasis added)
"the District Court for the Western District of Texas must designate a substitute interim plan for the 2012 election cycle by the end of November."