Dec 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Merrick Garland.

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and have "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

Be smart: Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act holds that state laws must provide voters "with an equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process and elect representatives of their choosing," Garland said.

  • Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta added during the news conference that the new districts "were drawn with discriminatory intent."

What they're saying: "Texas' 2021 redistricting plans were enacted through a rush process with minimal opportunity for public comment, without any expert testimony, and with an overall disregard for the massive minority population growth in Texas over the last decade," Gupta told reporters Monday.

"Texas' population grew by 4 million people from 2010 to 2020 and 95% of that growth came from minority populations. Despite this significant increase in the number and proportion of eligible Latino and Black voters in Texas, the newly enacted redistricting plans will not allow minority voters an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.
Instead, our investigation determined that Texas' redistricting plans will dilute the increased minority voting strength that should have developed from these significant demographic shifts."
ā€” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office tweeted: "The Department of Justice's absurd lawsuit against our state is the Biden Administration's latest ploy to control Texas voters. I am confident that our legislature's redistricting decisions will be proven lawful, and this preposterous attempt to sway democracy will fail."

Worth noting: Garland noted that "this redistricting cycle would be the first to proceed since 1960 without the protection of pre-clearance."

Go deeper: Read the full lawsuit

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