Monday, September 19, 2011
Texas GOP gerrymandering plans violates Voting Rights Act, put on hold by US Justice Dept.
From The Huffington Post
By April Castro
AUSTIN, Texas — The U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing Monday that Texas' new voting maps for Congress and for the Texas House do not meet federal anti-discrimination requirements, setting up a legal battle that will decide the landscape of future elections in the state.
The case, which involves the election districts drawn by the Republican-led Texas Legislature, will likely be decided by a federal court in Washington, D.C.
Texas received four new congressional seats following the last census, more than any other state. The new congressional map was drawn with the goal of protecting and possibly expanding the 23-9 majority enjoyed by Republicans in Texas' delegation in Washington.
Hispanics have accounted for two-thirds of the state's growth since 2000. Yet during the two-week federal trial, opponents argued that GOP mapmakers went out of their way to stifle those gains and deny Hispanics greater voting power.
Democrats argued that the map passed by the Texas Legislature this summer simply packed Hispanics and blacks into the same districts