A U.S. district court invalidated the lines of a handful Texas districts late Friday evening, ruling “Republicans redrew the Texas congressional map to intentionally discriminate against Latino and black voters in a ‘rushed and secretive process.’”
The districts in question include those of Reps. Will Hurd (R-TX 23), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX 35) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX 27). The court panel “did not mandate or discuss any remedies to correct the problems,” but “the long-awaited ruling has the potential to create more districts with larger populations of Latino voters ‘and probably more Democratic districts’ … said Michael Li, redistricting counsel at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.” (Austin American-Statesman)
“Texas is likely to appeal the decision, and because of the legal dynamics, any appeal would go directly to the Supreme Court. The process of redrawing the maps may be delayed not only by an appeal but also because the San Antonio panel has yet to rule on another aspect of the case, the district maps drawn for the state’s House of Representatives.” (New York Times)
“The nearly 200-page ruling” addressed the map drawn in 2011 and “could have a filter-down effect on nearby districts if the ruling stands in the 6-year-old case that was filed by minority voters and civil-rights groups, among others.”
“‘The Legislature adopted the court-drawn 2012 maps in 2013. The court was under a direct order from the Supreme Court to draw lawful districts. The adoption of those maps in 2013 mooted any issue with the 2011 maps. There are no lines to redraw,’ Marc Rylander, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s director of communications, said in response to the ruling.” (San Antonio Express-News)
MEMBER RESPONSE. Hurd said in a statement: “I represent a 70 percent Hispanic district that produced record turnout in 2016, voted for Hillary Clinton and against my Democratic opponent. I passed nine pieces of legislation signed into law last Congress, more than any other member in the country. … The voters graded my paper and saw fit to vote me back in office. No matter the district lines, I will continue that hard work on behalf of all of my constituents.” (San Antonio Express-News)
Farenthold said in his own statement: “This matter is in the hands of the court. And while I expect it to be appealed, I look forward to continuing to represent the people who elected me.” (Corpus Christi Caller-Times)
Doggett: “I think everyone loses from Republican gerrymandering that redices the amount of accessibility and accountability of elected officials regardless of their party.” (CBS Austin)
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