SCOTUS Reverses Unanimous Three-Judge Court Finding of Racial Discrimination by Texas Legislature

Texas State Capitol, Courtesy of Daniel Mayer
Texas State Capitol. Photo courtesy of Daniel Mayer

In a disappointing decision in June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the three-judge court’s unanimous finding that the Texas Legislature intentionally discriminated against Blacks and Latinos in drawing its district lines in 2013. While reversing nearly all the lower court’s findings, it affirmed the decision of the district court in favor of the challenge to racial gerrymandering in Texas state house district 90. Campaign Legal Center submitted an amicus brief with the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in support of the lower court’s ruling for all of the challenged districts. The amicus stressed the importance of smoking out intentional discrimination and eliminating it from our voting laws.

America’s promise is a government of, by and for the people, where the most fundamental liberty is the right to freely choose our representatives through voting free from discrimination. This case presented the Court with an opportunity to show that all voters, no matter their race, should be able to choose their representatives and not the other way around.

Abbot v. Perez was part of several cases in the state of Texas regarding redistricting and voting rights. Despite Monday’s decision from the Court, a number of gains have been made for Texan voters, Campaign Legal Center represented Congressman Veasey in Veasey v. Abbott, a challenge to Texas’ strict photo ID law. After years of hard fought court battles, the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that law violated the Voting Rights Act. As a result, in 2016 the law was blocked and then amended to allow all voters to cast a ballot regardless of whether they have on of the few specified forms of photo ID.