Federal Court Says Texas Redistricting Discriminates Against Minorities, Throws Out Plans

Source: Robert Barnes / The Washington Post

A federal court on Tuesday threw out Texas’s redistricting plans, saying the maps drawn by the Republican-led legislature undermined the political clout of minorities who are responsible for the state’s population growth.

The three-judge special panel in Washington said Texas could not prove that plans for the state’s congressional districts and both houses of the legislature were not drawn without intentional discrimination against the state’s burgeoning Latino population. In addition, it said new district lines removed the “economic guts” from congressional districts now held by African-Americans.

“The only explanation Texas offers for this pattern is ‘coincidence,’ ” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas B. Griffith. “But if this was coincidence, it was a striking one indeed.”

The decision is not likely to change the districts before the November elections; the political parties have already chosen their nominees under interim plans drawn by a different federal court.

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