Jose Garza to Present Oral Argument to U.S. Supreme Court in Texas Redistricting Case
January 9, 2012
Contact: Paloma Zuleta, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 812-4477
Washington, DC –
Today, at 1 P.M., the Supreme Court will hear Perry v. Perez, a case in which the state of Texas used redistricting gerrymandering techniques to delineate districts that dilutes Latino voting strength, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments. Long-time LULAC attorney Jose Garza will argue for all plaintiffs, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the interim maps drawn by the Texas Federal Court.
“In 1965, the federal government created an institutional mechanism, the Voting Rights Act, to prevent further infringement of minority voting rights due to the state's history of abuses,” stated LULAC President Margaret Moran. “This act has been violated since the maps drawn by the state reduced the opportunity of Latino voters to participate in the political process in Texas. The Voting Rights Act was extended to Texas in 1975 and was retroactive to the 1970 redistricting maps.”
“Texas has issued objections in every redistricting map for every decade since the 1970s,” stated LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “We at LULAC trust that the Supreme Court Justices will agree with the evidence and will continue to protect and uphold minority voting rights on Monday.”
The Texas Legislature used 2010 Census information without consideration of the Latino population growth to create inadequate maps for Congress, State Senate, and State House of Representatives. These maps have been challenged in court. Investigations have found that the state established district lines in such a way that reduce the voting power of the overwhelming presence of Latinos in Texas. Retrogression is alleged in Nueces, Harris, Dallas, Travis, Tarrant, Hidalgo, and Cameron Counties.
Maps must be drawn with zero deviation for Congress and with less than 10% deviation from perfect population equality. Texas has ignored the precedent found in 2004 Supreme Court case Larios v. Cox 159 L. Ed. 2d 831, 833 whereby 7 - 10% deviation in maps was still found as infringing minority voting rights. The Texas House districting plan adopted by the Texas House of Representatives has a total or top to bottom deviation of 9.9%.
Section Five of the Voting Rights Act requires that legislative-drawn maps be pre-cleared by the Department of Justice before they are put into effect. Because the state’s map has not yet been cleared, it cannot go into effect and be used in the 2012 election. This will delay voting in primary elections in the state of Texas.
For more than twenty years, Jose Garza has represented LULAC in civil rights abuses that affect the Latino community. In this case, he was the attorney for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus of Texas, a case that joined with LULAC to fight the transgressions of the Texas Legislature.
Attorney Paul Clement will represent the defendant in this case. In the past, he has defended Arizona’s unconstitutional law S.B. 1070, as well as, Congress’s prohibition against federal recognition of same-sex marriages.
About LULAC: The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating through 900 LULAC councils nationwide.