Slate has a good summary of the decision of the federal district court for Texas on Thursday that, once again, struck down the district lines drawn by the Texas legislature for intentional racial discrimination. Federal Court: Texas Intentionally Gerrymandered Its Districts to Dilute Minority Votes:
On Thursday, a three-judge federal court ruled that Texas intentionally discriminated against minority voters in drawing its state House district map in 2011. The decision follows a similar ruling by the same court in March holding that Texas also drew its federal congressional districts in an effort to dilute minority votes. Thursday’s ruling marks the third time in recent weeks that the federal judiciary has found Texas to have intentionally burdened its Hispanic voters.
The majority attached a 151-page findings of fact to its already lengthy opinion, reflecting careful analysis of Texas’ gerrymander that will be difficult for the Supreme Court to ignore on appeal. In short, the court found that Texas legislators drew multiple House districts that diluted Hispanics’ votes, a violation of both the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The court also found that the legislature had engaged in race-based gerrymandering, which similarly runs afoul of equal protection and the VRA. Finally, the court concluded that the House map violated the one person, one vote principle by creating districts within unequal populations, another Equal Protection infringement.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Civil Rights, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Courts, Election Integrity, Elections, Ethics, GOP War On..., Party Politics, Racism, Redistricting, Scandals
Tagged discrimination, Equal Protection, gerrymandering, voting rights, Voting Rights Act of 1965
Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, on remand from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, has again ruled (.pdf) that the voter identification law the Texas Legislature passed in 2011 was enacted with the intent to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters. Federal Judge Says Texas Voter ID Law Intentionally Discriminates:
In a long-running case over the legality of one of the toughest voter ID laws in the country, the judge found that the law violated the federal Voting Rights Act.
Judge Gonzales Ramos had made a similar ruling in 2014, but after Texas appealed her decision, a federal appellate court instructed her to review the issue once more.
The appeals court — the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans — found that Judge Ramos had relied too heavily on Texas’ history of discriminatory voting measures and other evidence it labeled “infirm” and asked her to reweigh the question of discriminatory intent.
In her ruling on Monday, Judge Ramos wrote that the evidence cited by the Fifth Circuit “did not tip the scales” in favor of the state.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Civil Rights, Constitution, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Election Integrity, Elections, Ethics, GOP War On..., Justice, Law Enforcement, Legislation, Party Politics, Racism, Scandals
Tagged Texas, voter id, voting rights, Voting Rights Act of 1965
John Oliver on his “Last Week Tonight”show Sunday night did a segment on Gerrymandering (video) that, while informative and funny, barely mentioned towards the end of the segment what may become a landmark case in the next term of the U.S. Supreme Court (unless affirmed) from the state of Wisconsin, Whitford v. Gill (No. 16-1161).
It’s time to get up to speed on this pending case.
Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog explains the posture of this case, The WI Gerrymandering Case and the Costs of Mandatory Jurisdiction:
The 2-1 federal court decision striking down Wisconsin’s redistricting plans for the state legislature as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, Whitford v. Gill, is without doubt the most significant lower federal court decision on partisan gerrymandering the lower courts have ever issued. The case will also come to the Court in the Supreme Court’s mandatory, appellate jurisdiction — which now exists only for a tiny sliver of cases, including challenges to statewide redistricting plans.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Civil Rights, Constitution, Courts, Election Integrity, Elections, Ethics, GOP War On..., Party Politics, Redistricting, Scandals
Tagged gerrymandering, voting rights