The lawsuit alleges that the redistribution plan established by Texas lawmakers violates voting rights law.
“The lawsuit we filed today alleges that Texas violated section two by creating redistribution plans that deny or fulfill the right of Latino and black voters to vote because of their race, color or nationality. belonging to a minority language group, ”said Attorney General Merrick. Garland said at a press conference.
The lawsuit targets both the map of the US Congress drawn for the next decade of elections and the State House plan.
“The legislature has refused to recognize the state’s growing minority electorate,” the lawsuit says. “Although the Texas congressional delegation has grown from 36 to 38 seats, Texas designed the two new seats to have Anglo voting majorities. “
“However, Texas designed these two new seats to have white vote majorities,” Deputy Attorney General Vanita Gupta said. “Instead, our investigation determined that Texas redistribution plans will dilute the increased minority voting strength that should have developed from these significant demographic shifts. “
This is the second voting rights lawsuit that the Biden administration has brought against the state this year. The Justice Department also challenged restrictive voting measures passed by the legislature earlier this year.
The retrial alleges that by drawing the map of the US Congress, Texas “intentionally eliminated a Latino electoral opportunity in Congressional District 23, a district in West Texas where courts had identified violations of the law. the voting rights during the two previous redistribution cycles ”.
According to the lawsuit, Texas “failed to attract a seat encompassing the growing Latin American electorate in Harris County” and “the minority communities excised from the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.”
“Texas also eliminated electoral opportunities for Latinos in the State House plan by manipulating or outright eliminating districts where Latino communities had previously elected their preferred candidates,” says the lawsuit, filed in the district. Western Texas.
Texas is already facing several private lawsuits challenging its new maps, which were signed into law in October by Gov. Greg Abbott after the GOP-controlled legislature approved them.
A spokesperson for Texas Secretary of State John Scott, who is accused in the lawsuit, declined to comment. In a tweet, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office called the trial “absurd” and said it was “the Biden administration’s” latest ploy to control voters in Texas. “
Lack of “preclearance”
isIn decades past, Texas would have been required by voting rights law to obtain federal approval – either from the Department of Justice or a federal court – before implementing new legislative maps.
This requirement, known as preclearance, was removed in the 2013 Supreme Court decision Shelby County v. Holder. Without it, the Justice Department is challenging the new cards under a separate provision in the law that will require the Department to prove the cards are discriminatory.
Texas is no stranger to litigation over its line art. He sought federal court approval for the maps he drew in 2010, in what became a legal battle that spanned most of the decade.
Garland noted on Monday the lack of a preclearance requirement and the impact its absence had on the department’s voting enforcement efforts, denying it the ability to review new cards before they were released. ‘come into force.
“I want, once again, to urge Congress to restore the preclearance authority of the Department of Justice where this preclearance tool is still in place. We probably wouldn’t be here today to announce this complaint, ”Garland said.