REDISTRICTING | TX-23 | TX-27 | TX-35

Federal Court Invalidates 3 Texas Districts

A panel ruled the current lines discriminated against black and Hispanic voters.

Ally Mutnick
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Ally Mutnick
March 13, 2017, 11:32 a.m.

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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