An organization affiliated with Eric Holder, who was attorney general in the Obama administration, has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s GOP-drawn redistricting map for Congress on behalf of a Latino rights group and 13 Texas voters.
Filed Monday in an Austin federal court, the lawsuit claims mapmakers in the Texas Legislature improperly drew political districts in Senate Bill 6 that increased the power of white voters even though 95% of the state’s growth last decade was fueled by people of color.
That population growth made Texas the only state to gain two congressional seats after the 2020 census.
“Yet Senate Bill 6 appropriates those additional districts — and more — for white Texans,” the lawsuit argued. “Senate Bill 6 does so by packing and cracking communities of color along racial lines to ensure that those groups’ growing populations will not translate to increased political influence.”
Holder, chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said the congressional districts drawn by Republican lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott violate the Voting Rights Act.
The new lawsuit, filed Monday on behalf of Voto Latino and 13 voters, asks U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman to overturn the congressional districts and order a new map to be drawn that:
• Adds two majority Latino districts in South and West Texas, from the border region north to Bexar County and south to the Gulf of Mexico.
• Improves the voting strength of Latinos in Congressional District 23, which stretches along the border with Mexico from San Antonio to just east of El Paso.
• Adds a majority Latino or majority Black-Latino district in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
• Creates another majority Latino or majority Black-Latino district in the Houston area.
The lawsuit also complained that Congressional District 35, which stretches from Austin to San Antonio along a narrow strip of Interstate 35, improperly combines far-flung Latino communities into a district with a Latino voting-age population of just under 48%.
A statement from Voto Latino is here, and a copy of the lawsuit is here. The National Redistricting Action Fund, a non-profit affiliate of the NDRC, did the filing. As noted, there is a separate lawsuit filed by MALDEF that challenges the legislative and SBOE maps in addition to the Congressional map. I assume that the NRDC and NRAF focused on the Congressional map because the NDRC’s mission is more of a national one. You know the drill here – the plaintiffs will have tons of evidence on their side, but unless there’s a new federal law to address this, SCOTUS ain’t gonna care. There’s also a chance this could delay the 2022 primaries, though again I would not bet on it. We’ll see what happens. Spectrum News has more.