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Yesterday evening the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, stayed a redraw of district boundaries following the Congressional and State House redistricting decisions by the San Antonio District Court that invalidated the maps and found intentional discrimination by Texas Republican leaders. Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle released the following statement:
"Hostility to new Texas voters, rigging elections by adopting discriminatory district boundaries and undermining minority voting strength overall aren’t just the tactics adopted under Greg Abbott’s leadership, they are what defines his character.
"The stay issued by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday should never have been sought. Federal Courts in Texas and in Washington, DC – where two-thirds of the Justices were appointed by Republican Presidents – have ruled numerous times that Greg Abbott and Texas Republican leaders adopted redistricting plans that intentionally discriminate against millions of Texas citizens in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. Any responsible leader would have long ago halted their appeals and agreed to redraw the plans fairly to restore the stolen voting strength of millions of now disenfranchised Texas voters.
"Instead, Texas taxpayers have been forced to pay millions of dollars in legal fees, spent against their own interests, to defend discriminatory redistricting plans and voting laws. Every Texan – regardless of their race – is harmed by Greg Abbott’s relentless use of racial and partisan gerrymandering coupled with vote suppression.
"While the Texas redistricting battle has been long and complicated, one thing is crystal clear – current Texas Republican leaders see vote suppression and overt hostility to the growing minority population in Texas as key elements to hold power and to avoid accountability.
"It is important to remember that the Supreme Court did not rule on the substance of the challenges to the discriminatory redistricting plans but simply stopped any further action on maps until the Supreme Court decides whether or not to formally review the district court decision and hear arguments for and against it.
"The Court’s stay makes it virtually certain that the 2018 elections will be run under the current congressional and legislative district lines. The Lone Star Project will continue to support key plaintiff groups in the Supreme Court legal battle ahead. And, in the meantime, we will work diligently in the 2018 elections to expose the failure of Texas Republican leaders and overcome their hostility and disrespect for Texas voters."