LULAC Applauds the Decision of the Three Judge Federal District Court
Federal Court Finds Maps to be in Violation of the Voting Rights Act
August 28, 2012
Contact: Contact: Paloma Zuleta
(202) 812-4477 (cell)
Washington, D.C. - Today, the three judges of the Federal District Court, in Washington DC, unanimously declared that the Texas Congressional plan drawn by a Republican Texas Legislature would have a discriminatory and retrogressive impact against minorities and affirmed that all three maps, the Congressional, State House of Representatives, and the State Senate, to be in violation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The Court also declared that the Republican Legislature was motivated by discriminatory intent when they redrew districts with high minority populations in a manner that would have diluted minority voting power.
The 2010 Census figures clearly indicated that the increase in the minority population in Texas warranted an increase in Congressional representation that the State of Texas refused to grant. These maps made clear that the four new congressional districts that Texas gained as a result of its fast growing Hispanic population, could be drawn in a manner that would create four new Latino performing districts. LULAC joined the lawsuit by way of intervention, which was originally filed by the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. A tri-ethnic coalition of minority groups in Harris County (District 149) which included Asian, African American and Hispanic communities worked to strike down the State of Texas’ discriminatory map.
“For 83 years, LULAC has worked tirelessly to defend the voting rights of Latinos in the State of Texas and throughout the nation,” stated Margaret Moran, LULAC National President. “Since the 1980s Texas has yet to draw a map that has not been challenged for violating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The State of Texas exploited the voting rights of minorities by refusing Congressional representation to match the population growth and today’s clear victory is a win for minority groups that worked hard on this issue.”
According to the decision, the maps were retrogressive in three districts and failed to clearly create an additional district that reflected minority population. The Federal Court demonstrated concern over the issuance of these maps and the methodology that was used by the State of Texas to uphold them in court. The dissent was narrow and only addressed one district.
Because the State of Texas already conducted primary elections in one district, and because all other candidates have already been nominated in a number of districts it’s likely that the discriminatory maps will remain in use for the 2012 Presidential Elections, especially given the fact that the Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, has indicated no intention of presenting alternative maps in time for the November elections.
“LULAC and other civil rights organizations will continue to fight to change the maps for the November election,” stated Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. LULAC General Counsel. “LULAC was at the forefront of the Voting Rights Act. The casebooks are filled with historical lawsuits that reflect LULAC spearheading legislation that seek to bring justice for Latinos.”
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 900 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.