LULAC Hails Court Decision Declaring Two Texas Congressional Districts Unconstitutional
August 16, 2017
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, in a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel (made up of two Republicans and a Democrat) of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas found that Congressional Districts 27 and 35 were drawn with discriminatory intent and thus violated the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Voting Rights Act. A coalition of civil rights groups including the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) had filed a suit in 2011 claiming that Congressional Districts, 23, 27, and 35 as drawn violated the U.S. Constitution and Federal Law.
The federal judicial panel found that voters from Congressional District 27, which includes Corpus Christi, were “intentionally deprived of their opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice.” In their 107 page decision, the judges also found that Congressional District 35, which includes Central Texas, was found to be an “impermissible racial gerrymander” citing that the Texas legislature used race to identify congressional and House boundaries. The judges found that Congressional District 23 could be left as is and referred to it as a “Latino opportunity district.”
“Over the last six years, LULAC has fought to ensure that minority voters were not discriminated against through impermissible gerrymandering,” said LULAC General Counsel, Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. and attorney for this litigation. “In a unanimous decision, the federal court invalidated two Texas congressional districts finding that the Texas Legislature drew congressional districts with the intent to weaken the impact of Latino and black voters. The GOP controlled legislature knew that these voters were more likely to support Democrats, and thus drew maps to ensure that minority voters were not permitted to elect the candidate of their choice. Our democracy was founded on the principle that every vote counts. What the Texas Legislature did flies in the face of that core principle. We are grateful that the Federal Court recognized that there was illegal racial gerrymandering and has ordered new districts to be drawn consistent with the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. Rest assured LULAC will continue to closely monitor the situation. If the case is appealed, LULAC will continue its fight on appeal, and if not, LULAC will ensure that the new districts are drawn in a manner consistent with the court’s order."
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.