Judges rule that two districts were drawn on the basis of race
Attorney General Ken Paxton intends an appeal to Supreme Court
A panel of three judges of the U.S. District Court in San Antonio unanimously ruled Tuesday that two Texas Congressional seats violated federal law and that a new congressional map will need to be redrawn before the 2018 midterms elections. Their ruling could have significance as future voting proposals are approved by federal government prior to becoming law.
“It was a great victory,” said Luis Roberto Vera, national general counsel for the League of United Latino American Citizens. “We fought hard for it.”
Vera told NEWS LEGIT “the Texas House seats Order will be released next. It was a unanimous decision consisting of two Republicans and one Democrat. This includes the ultra conservative Judge Jerry Smith from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.”
But Attorney General Ken Paxton expressed his disappointment with a portion of today’s federal court decision on maps that the district court itself adopted in 2012. They have been in effect for the last three election cycles. The judges ruled that the two particular districts (Congressional Districts 27 and 35) the court itself adopted had a discriminatory purpose.
“We appreciate that the panel ruled in favor of Texas on many issues in the case. But the portion of the ruling that went against Texas is puzzling considering the Legislature adopted the congressional map the same court itself adopted in 2012, and the Obama-era Department of Justice did not bring any claims against the map,” Attorney General Paxton said. “We look forward to asking the Supreme Court to decide whether Texas had discriminatory intent when relying on the district court.”
The court ruled unanimously in favor of Texas on the following issues:
- That the plaintiffs’ failed to prove that black and Hispanic voters vote cohesively for purposes of creating a coalition district in Dallas-Fort Worth;
- That the plaintiffs’ failed to prove that black and Hispanic voters vote cohesively for purposes of creating a coalition district in Houston; and
- The lawfulness of Congressional District 23.