Paxton Praises Solicitor General's Redistricting Arguments Before SCOTUS

Credit National Atlas  Wikimedia Commons

Credit National Atlas Wikimedia Commons

That court ruled that Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against Hispanic and black voters when they drew boundaries for congressional and state House districts.

Minority advocacy groups did not like those 2011 maps, and said they were deliberately created to negatively affect African American and Latino voters. The court then gave the Texas attorney general three days to advise whether the state would redistrict the electoral map in an "effort to cure these violations".

So after all these years, it's not surprising many Texans feel like Lelena Fisher, a graphic designer from Austin. It could also decide if Texas will again have to submit to federal "preclearance" requirements in future redistricting and election cases.

Congressman represent your voice when they go to Washington D.C., but civil rights groups in Texas said certain district boundaries are drawn to break up the black and Latino population, lowering their chances to be represented.

"Aren't we obligated to look at the full picture, not just the piece of the picture you want us to look at?" The district court issued no injunction against the Texas legislature. The legislature liked those maps, and officially adopted them during the 2013 legislative session.

The Legislature should have taken it as a "starting point" instead of using it as a "mask" for past discrimination, argued Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, who is representing some of the map challengers.

Those arguments revolved around the district court's findings of discriminatory intent in how Texas drew the maps.

After a lower court ruled in their favor, the State fought back. Some legal analysts say that if Texas prevails in its appeal from the lower court proceedings, it could either slow or short-circuit them altogether, protecting the current maps through the 2020 elections. Until that day, however, the state's political parties, voters and interest groups will continue to battle it out over who gets to draw the lines and in what shape, as they did at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

"The Texas case of gerrymandering is a ideal example of why politicians should no longer be allowed to draw political maps", said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, a San Antonio Democrat who supports the redistricting challenge. The litigation, however, continued, and the San Antonio court handed down decisions in 2017 finding that both the 2011 map and the 2013 map were illegal.

"You have instances where the courts have said this is some intentional discrimination or there's unconstitutional gerrymandering", Rodriguez said in an interview on "State of Texas". But they had to grapple with how to redraw the political maps to account for the state's growth when demographics were shifting against them.

Of the 23 Texas Republican members of Congress, contacted for this story, none provided a comment. Five of those districts are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

At issue are two USA congressional and nine state legislative districts.

With a Supreme Court ruling unlikely much before the end of June, along with the possibility of further proceedings by the lower courts, the challengers to Texas' political maps say time is running out on the prospect of any resolution in time for the November 6 midterm elections.

"By not waiting for the remedy in this case, we are not in a position to be fully informed on that question", said Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Texas was, in effect, appealing the district court's request that it show up in court with proposals to fix its maps. "It's about time the Supreme Court corrects the failures of our leadership and restores justice for the people of Texas", Castro said.

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