I missed this story on Friday. State Representative Marc Veasey (D-Fort Wortht) filed a legal challenge to the state’s new congressional map in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio). Here are some excerpts from the filing:
Voting Rights Act Section 2 Violations
“Though minority communities accounted for 90% of population growth between 2000 and 2010, and Texas received four additional congressional seats because of that explosive population growth, minorities only control one of the four new districts created under the State’s Plan. And though the Anglo population now comprises only 45% of Texas’ total population, Anglos control 72% of Texas’ congressional districts under the newly enacted map. This configuration constitutes an unlawful dilution of minority voting strength under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. “
Voting Rights Act Section 5 Violations
“The State’s Plan was drawn with the purpose of, and has the effect of, minimizing and reducing the strength of minority populations in Texas. While the pre-2011 congressional map contains eleven effective minority opportunity districts, the State’s Plan contains only ten such districts. Reducing the number of effective minority opportunity districts constitutes unlawful retrogression under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
14th Amendment Violations
“That Republican leadership did not extend meaningful opportunities for effective participation in redistricting to those Representatives elected by communities of color and the general public is an affront to democratic values and is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Excluding minority Representatives of choice from the redistricting process also violates Article I, Sections 2 and 4 of the United States Constitution, as well as the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
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As Veasey has framed the question, this is the set of facts at the heart of the controversy: (1) Minority communities accounted for 90% of Texas’s population growth between 2000 and 2010; (2) Texas received four additional congressional seats because of that explosive population growth; (3) Is the state therefore required to provide more districts for racial minorities than the one new district that is drawn under the current map?