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The Texas State Capitol building in Austin. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas' GOP-led state legislature passed redistricting maps based on the "unconstitutional and unlawful use of race," according to a new lawsuit filed Friday.

Why it matters: The new maps reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities and come after recent census figures found that the state's growing and diverse populations don't bode well for Republicans.

Details: Filed in federal court in the Western District of Texas, the lawsuit alleges that race was the dominant factor in the Texas legislature's redistricting decisions.

  • "[T]he legislature and its line drawers not only completely ignored the astounding growth of communities of color in failing to create additional majority-minority districts, but actually reduced the number of majority-minority districts in the state," according to the lawsuit, which the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed on behalf of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP.
  • In these districts, lawmakers removed voters of color and added white voters in a bid to "dilute" the voting strength of Black voters and other voters of color, who are protected as groups that have historically faced racial discrimination in voting, per the lawsuit.

Don't forget: The redistricting process occurs every 10 years to account for population growth.

What they're saying: "These maps have a single-minded purpose, ensuring that a white voting bloc will have unquestioned control of the State for the foreseeable future without regard to their dwindling population and overall voter registration numbers," Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP, said in a statement.

  • Ezra Rosenberg, co-director of the Voting Rights Project with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, called the maps "illegal chicanery" and a "perversion of justice that cannot stand."
  • They seek to "strip Black, Latinx, and Asian-American Texans of their voting power," added NAACP General Counsel Janette McCarthy Wallace. "We refuse to remain silent while others unlawfully try to prevent us from electing candidates of our choice."

The big picture: Texas has been the battleground for civil rights lawsuits in recent months.

Go deeper

Dec 7, 2021 - Podcasts

The complicated web of American drug pricing

Americans spend hundreds of billions on prescription drugs each year. In fact, about $370 billion as of 2019. And employers in charge of healthcare plans paid for about $166 billion of that.

It's middleman firms that actually negotiate these drug prices on behalf of employers. But because they keep their data secret, companies have no idea whether they're getting a fair deal on drug prices or not. And an Axios investigation shows these intermediaries are working hard to keep it that way.

  • Plus, the Department of Justice sues Texas over voting rights
  • And, eating out could soon mean more encounters with robots

Guests: Axios' Ben Herman and Russell Contreras.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Julia Redpath, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Alex Sugiura, Sabeena Singhani, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Michael Hanf, and David Toledo. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Editor's note: This conversation was updated to correct an error. The Supreme Court conservative majority is 6-3 (not 6-4).

Go Deeper:

Scoop: Over 200 papers quietly sue Big Tech

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Newspapers all over the country have been quietly filing antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook for the past year, alleging the two firms monopolized the digital ad market for revenue that would otherwise go to local news. 

Why it matters: What started as a small-town effort to take a stand against Big Tech has turned into a national movement, with over 200 newspapers involved across dozens of states.

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.