U.S. Supreme Court Reversed and Remanded the Redistricting Case With Instructions to the U.S. District Court On How to Proceed With New Texas Maps

January 20, 2012

Contact: Paloma Zuleta, pzuleta@lulac.org, (202) 812-4477

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision directing the San Antonio District Court in Texas to use the plan that was drawn by the Texas Legislature as a starting point in drawing a new interim map that encompasses the merits of LULAC and the redistricting plaintiff's concerns regarding the constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The U.S. Supreme Court further instructed the San Antonio Court to follow the state policy judgments unless there is a "reasonable probability" of not having Section 5 preclearance.

On January 9th, 2012 Jose Garza, MALC Lead Counsel arguing for LULAC and the redistricting plaintiffs, presented oral arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court making the case that the State of Texas' congressional and legislative maps have not been precleared and therefore cannot be used as interim plans, the Supreme Court has agreed.

“Today, the Supreme Court Justices instructed the San Antonio Federal District Court to follow the process and provide explanations as to why they drew the interim map in the way they did,” stated LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “The maps that were drawn by the Texas Legislature without question reduced the opportunity of Latino voters to participate in the political process and therefore we still seek the protection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to stop the infringement of minority voting rights by the state.”

“We will prevail in protecting and upholding minority voting rights in Texas,” said Luis Vera LULAC Attorney. “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court was not unexpected and although we hoped to have the matter resolved, we look forward to see the explanations that the San Antonio Federal District Court provides because they will help the Courts better understand how the State of Texas has long chosen politics over doing the right thing for the people of Texas.”

“We are confident that ultimately the voting rights of all Hispanics will be upheld,” said LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “The U.S. Supreme Court has provided the San Antonio Court with clear guidance with how to proceed in issuing another interim map which the San Antonio Court must issue before the people of Texas can vote.”

Although the 2010 Census showed that the Hispanic population in Texas had seen significant growth, the Texas State Legislature provided no representation of the Latino population growth for Congress, State Senate, and State House of Representatives in drawing the maps. After the maps were challenged in court, a close analysis found that the state purposefully established district lines with the intention to 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.

Section 5 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.

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.

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