Court Does Not Impose New Pre-Clearance Requirements.
In an opinion issued today by a three-judge federal district court in San Antonio, it was again confirmed that Texas Republican leaders have repeatedly adopted intentionally discriminatory redistricting and voting laws, while also illegally purging Texas voter rolls. Using direct and damning language, the Court said:
“…the Court has grave concerns about Texas’s past conduct. During the 2011 legislative session, Texas engaged in traditional means of vote dilution such as cracking and packing in drawing districts, and also utilized newer methods of dilution and suppression such as using the “nudge factor” and passing voter ID requirements.
“Given the fact of changing population demographics, the likelihood increases that the Texas Legislature will continue to find ways to attempt to engage in “ingenious defiance of the Constitution” that necessitated the preclearance system in the first place.”
However, despite the confirmation of past and ongoing discriminatory actions, the Court declined to issue an order forcing Texas to submit newly adopted redistricting or voting laws for court pre-clearance before being enforced. Essentially, the Court is giving Texas Republicans a chance to end their continued reliance on overt discrimination to gain and hold power, saying:
“Even without being subject to preclearance, Texas must still comply with the requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment and § 2 of the VRA in the upcoming redistricting cycle, and undoubtedly its plans will be subject to judicial scrutiny. Texas would be well advised to conduct its redistricting process openly, with the understanding that consideration of bail-in is always an option…”
The entire opinion can be seen here.
Statement from Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle
“Discrimination and overt hostility to minority Texans is the first option Greg Abbott and other Texas Republican leaders choose to hold power. Donald Trump has made it a virtual requirement for being in the Republican Party.
“It’s disappointing that the Court didn’t force pre-clearance now, because I have no doubt that Texas Republicans will very soon attack and discriminate in order to undermine Latino and African American voting strength. They can’t win otherwise.
“The Court has given Texas Republicans a second chance they didn’t earn and don’t deserve. Don’t expect Republicans to make good on it.”