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Why Texas Republicans Aren't Trusted To Protect Minority Voters


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, corruption, crime, dishonesty, elections, lies, media, news, politics, propaganda, republicans, Voting Rights )

Kit
- 513 days ago - 66.147.244.128
Texas Republicans were caught red-handed in 2011 trying to establish voting laws with the intent to discriminate against certain minority groups -- a fact that could come back to haunt them as civil rights activists push to limit the state's -->



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Kit B. (276)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 12:31 pm
Photo Credit: Texas Democrats



Texas Republicans were caught red-handed in 2011 trying to establish voting laws with the intent to discriminate against certain minority groups — a fact that could come back to haunt them as civil rights activists push to limit the state’s newly granted freedom to change voting laws without federal approval.

The Supreme Court recently struck down the formula that determines which jurisdictions must win federal preclearance before to changing their voting laws. Texas was one of them. But civil rights advocates are pushing to place Texas back on the preclearance list, using a lesser-known provision of the Voting Rights Act that allows courts to “bail in” jurisdictions that deliberately try to discriminate against certain ethnic groups.

Here’s why they believe they have a strong case.

In 2011, Texas Republicans put forth a redistricting plan that a federal court in Washington, D.C., concluded was intentionally designed to dilute the strength of African-American and Hispanic votes. Purposeful — not merely incidental — discrimination. As a result, it was blocked under the now-neutered Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. A series of highly revealing emails between Republicans about the redistricting process, which included redrawn maps for state legislative districts as well as congressional districts, were unearthed in the ensuing litigation and proved fatal to their case.

In one email, a lawyer for Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) said that the Republican wanted to move a white neighborhood near the San Antonio Country Club from a Hispanic congressional district into his own congressional district, in order to make the Democratic-leaning district less white.

In response, a Republican staffer for Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) warned in a private email that the gerrymandered map “has next to no chance of pre-clearance.”

At the time, Republican state Rep. Beverly Woolley, a leader of the redistricting efforts in Harris County, told a group of minority representatives, “[Y]ou all are protected by the Voting Rights Act and we are not. … We don’t want to lose these people due to population growth in the county, or we won’t have any districts left.”

In a separate instance, one Republican congressman told another that he needed “more Mexicans in [his] district” but not from areas where Latinos were politically active.

The Justice Department argued at the time that the emails left little doubt that “racial as well as political data were most accurately driving the line drawing.”

The evidence was enough for a three-judge panel on the D.C. court to deny pre-clearance and conclude that the new map was drawn with “discriminatory purposes.” The court said the new district lines removed the “economic guts” from African-American districts but performed “no such surgery” on regions represented by white lawmakers.

“Anglo district boundaries were redrawn to include particular country clubs and, in one case, the school belonging to the incumbent’s grandchildren,” wrote Judge Thomas Griffith for the court. “The only explanation Texas offers for this pattern is ‘coincidence.’ But if this was coincidence, it was a striking one indeed.”

Texas State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D), a leading figure in the pushback against Republican gerrymandering, said in an interview last week with TPM that the evidence left no doubt that the GOP engaged in a systematic, “sophisticated” effort to alienate minority voters in 2011.

“Those emails show very clearly they were drawing districts based on race,” Fischer told TPM. “They’d go all the way down to a precinct or city block level. … It was an effort to microtarget voters on the basis of how they vote and who they vote for.”

As a result, the court threw out the 2011 district maps and drew its own for Texas to use in the 2012 elections. Not happy with the new map, Texas Republicans took another stab this year at drawing its own district maps, which brings us back to the present legal battles.

Two current lawsuits are pending against Texas. One challenges the state’s proposed 2013 redistricting map, which civil rights advocates also say discriminates against minority groups.

A second, more recent lawsuit seeks to place Texas back on the list of jurisdictions that require pre-clearance. The plaintiffs invoke Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act, which allows for jurisdictions to be “bailed in” to the pre-clearance requirement if they are found to deliberately discriminate against minority groups. Civil rights advocates are submitting evidence from 2011 as the basis to immediately require Texas to pre-clear voting changes with the Justice Department or a federal court despite the Supreme Court decision.

The state of Texas has asked that the court cases against its proposed 2013 redistricting map be dismissed in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act. Texas Republicans argue that pre-clearance is a violation of states rights.

Martinez is now involved in the legal effort to place Texas back under pre-clearance.

“Given the record established in Texas, proven intent is not going to be difficult,” he said. “There are so many smoking guns, so many admissions. … This is probably the worst type of discrimination. This is when a mindset of discrimination meets the 21st century.”

Trey Martinez Fischer

 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 12:35 pm

Thank you, Bev.

This same story could be North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Indiana, Tennessee, Kansas, and Louisiana. There is no excuse for this.
 

Patrick Donovan (319)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 12:35 pm
It will be a victory for democracy (small "d") if the suit prevails. If not, we are in for a long, long winter of Republican gerrymandering.
 

Joanne Dixon (40)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 1:01 pm
I cannot imagine why anyone would trust ANY Republican to protect anything whatever except the interests of corporations and billionaires.
 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 1:06 pm

The gerrymandering was done in 2010 and those lines drawn will stand till 2020, that we all have to live with, or find a way to get each state to adopt new laws on gerrymandering. Excluding voters, based on race or any acid test is illegal but done all the time.
 

Angelika R. (144)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 1:17 pm
Joanne D just stated precisely what I was going to comment. After the last lost presidential election everyone knew what they were up to and they'll NEVER change.
 

Yvonne White (233)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 2:04 pm
“Anglo district boundaries were redrawn to include particular country clubs and, in one case, the school belonging to the incumbent’s grandchildren,” wrote Judge Thomas Griffith for the court. “The only explanation Texas offers for this pattern is ‘coincidence.’ But if this was coincidence, it was a striking one indeed.”
I didn't know RepubliCONs could spell coincidence - they certainly can't define "protect & serve" without reservations..;)
 

Michael Kirkby (86)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 3:42 pm
Noted
 

Jae A. (321)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 7:30 pm
Texas Republicans can't be trusted period !
 

GGmaSheila D. (169)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 9:26 pm
Fingers crossed this works in TX. If so, other states can be challenged. On a one by one basis it can work.
Noted, with thanks.
 

Laurie H. (730)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 10:28 pm
Can't wait for the next Presidential campaigns to roll around!!! By the way, can't we just Eliminate Republicans????? LOL=Thanks so much Kit!! & enjoyed the comments!!~
 

Dorothy N. (63)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 11:23 pm
The Republicans aren't democratic - they are actively trying to destroy democracy to take power over a free people and country.

The Republicans hate government, because it enables people to defend themselves against the powerful, and are trying to destroy it so that 'the market' (corporations and the wealthiest few) can effectively treat people as useful/disposable tools or commodities without protections or rights of any kind, with the environment and everything else being destroyed where even a little more money can be squeezed out for Those Who Matter - they are obviously unfit to form government or to have any hand in public policy.

They don't care about their country - they've shown themselves willing to bankrupt the country so as to pick the corpse and to eagerly destroy the principles on which it was founded, along with the Americans they've sworn to serve - they couldn't hide their lack of patriotism behind rhetoric or a flag pin, even if the size of Mt. Rushmore.

How can they be legitimately considered as a political party in a democracy?

Haven't they sufficiently outed themselves as self-identified psychopaths to have their 'party' designation taken away?
 

Sherri G. (117)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 1:16 am
You go Texas. We all wish intelligent people in Texas success in their quest for democracy and their fight against narrow minded thinkers who only work for their own interests. Sent stars for comments. Noted TY Kit.
 

Ben Oscarsito (354)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 2:43 am
Texas Republicans trusted...??? -Give me a break!
 

Robert K. (31)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 6:03 am
Trusted and Republican are two mutually incompatible words. There is not a single Republican in political office who doesn't actually belong in prison.

You cannot vote for a Republican and pretend to be patriotic or spiritual. Well, correction, you CAN pretend, but you can't actually be that.
 

Gene Jacobson (255)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 9:46 am
“Given the record established in Texas, proven intent is not going to be difficult,” he said. “There are so many smoking guns, so many admissions. … This is probably the worst type of discrimination. This is when a mindset of discrimination meets the 21st century.”

Republicans are even dimmer than I thought. They left a freaking paper trail, albeit mostly an electronic one, of their crime and that is what this should be characterized as, an attempt to commit voter fraud. Only not be voters by those drawing these maps. It is a criminal conspiracy and it continues. Not even this version of the Supremes can deny that. Hand in cookie jar is prima facie evidence of guilt, what else is needed? These hooligans ought be in jail, not office.
 

Arielle S. (317)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 10:51 am
Why? Um.... because they are Republicans? Yeah, that's the ticket....
And I suggest we give Gene the right to put those people where they should be!
 

Kit B. (276)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 11:12 am

I hear there is a Guillotine in France that could be used, and Yvonne has offered up torches and picks.
 

Lynn Squance (232)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 3:26 pm
"A second, more recent lawsuit seeks to place Texas back on the list of jurisdictions that require pre-clearance. The plaintiffs invoke Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act, which allows for jurisdictions to be “bailed in” to the pre-clearance requirement if they are found to deliberately discriminate against minority groups. Civil rights advocates are submitting evidence from 2011 as the basis to immediately require Texas to pre-clear voting changes with the Justice Department or a federal court despite the Supreme Court decision."

There is a "clear and present danger" to US democracy and it is the Republicanus/Teabagger party, both state and federal. An electronic trail with paper copies should be enough to cinch it. SCOTUS struck down section 5, not section 3 of the VRA so this would force SCOTUS, if it got there,

Wikipedia on Section 3:
Section 3(c) of the VRA contains a "bail in" or "pocket trigger" process by which jurisdictions outside the coverage formula of Section 4(b) that violate other provisions of the Voting Rights Act may become subject to preclearance under a federal court order. Unlike Section 5 preclearance, the period of coverage is based on a ruling or consent decree issued by a federal court, and the scope of coverage may be limited to particular types of voting changes.[47][48] Although the Supreme Court held the coverage formula under Section 4(b) unconstitutional in Shelby County v. Holder, it did not hold Section 3(c) unconstitutional; thus, bailed-in jurisdictions remain subject to Section 3(c) preclearance.

I've tried to find the exact wording of section 3 but have run out of time.

In my opinion, go for it because these Texas wackos need to be stopped from disenfranchising whole swathes of people from voting, and from discounting the vote by gerrymandering.
 

Judy C. (100)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 3:50 pm
These Texas Republicans are either so arrogant, or so stupid (or probably both) that they don't even try to be subtle with their racist actions.
 

JL A. (276)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 4:58 pm
may justice prevail
 

Yvonne White (233)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 4:58 pm
Torchs & pitchforks are the go-to farm implements!:) But that fancy French gizmo would be handy!:)
 

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Thursday July 25, 2013, 7:32 pm
Thank you for spreading the news. I believe Holder will address the problem, and our democracy may be safe for a little while. (p, t)
 
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