Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on two cases that challenge racially discriminatory redistricting in Texas. The Southern Coalition for Social Justice will argue that the state intentionally created and voted for discriminatory redistricting maps — twice. CLC submitted an amicus brief in support of the argument.
In 2011, after the 2010 Census results, the Texas state legislature redrew its state house and Congressional maps. Throughout both of these maps, Texas lawmakers purposely packed and cracked minority voters to minimize their growing voting strength. For example, in order to protect two white members (elected in 2010 in Latino leaning Congressional districts 23 and 27), the legislature diluted the strength of the Latino vote in both districts to provide an easier path to re-election for their incumbent friends, while simultaneously drawing another racially gerrymandered district, district 35.
Throughout the redistricting process, legislative leaders excluded all representatives of the black and Latino communities from meaningfully contributing to or commenting on the mapping process. In addition, those same leaders were openly “hostile to the creation of any minority districts,” and were willing to provide minority opportunities “only if they felt it was required by the VRA.”
Today the Supreme Court has an opportunity to hold the Texas state legislature accountable for its discriminatory acts and refuse to endorse a strategy of simply re-enacting discriminatory maps mid-litigation based upon explicitly preliminary and temporary court rulings along the way.
It’s now up to the Supreme Court to rein in this anti-democratic and discriminatory practice. The Supreme Court must enforce our most basic ground rule in redistricting: politicians cannot intentionally discriminate against voters because of their race. We’re hopeful the Court will do so in these cases.
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