A three-judge panel of federal judges unanimously ruled yesterday that a redistricting plan signed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) intentionally discriminated against Hispanic voters.
As reported by Talking Points Memo, the judges were “overwhelmed” with the amount of evidence showing the Texas redistricting plan was intentionally discriminatory, noting in a footnote that the parties provided “more evidence of discriminatory intent than we have space, or need, to address here.”
The state’s redistricting battle has taken many twists and turns. All three redistricting plans, the one for Texas’ congressional seats, its state House of Representatives as well as the state Senate were blocked by the federal court after it found that “surgery” had been performed on the congressional districts belonging to minority members of Congress while no similar alternations were made to districts represented by incumbent white members of Congress.
“Anglo district boundaries were redrawn to include particular country clubs and, in one case, the school belonging to the incumbent’s grandchildren,” the judges wrote. The country club reference is tied to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who chairs the House Oversight Committee that oversees the Justice Department. According to reports, a lawyer for Smith had requested that a country club be moved out of a Hispanic district and into his.
The ruling is a significant win for voting rights activists and a blow to Republicans who have allegations of racism and intentional discrimination dogging them with nearly every policy proposal they make–and with good reason. Their leadership at the state and national level has made it clear that the GOP is concerned with the plight of the rich white man and that it intends to do whatever is necessary to protect those interests. Gerrymandering is simply a tool in their toolbox to achieve their goal or re-concentrating power into the hands of a few wealthy elites. Thankfully at least one federal court is unwilling to let them do so.
Photo from walknboston via flickr.