The swirling force of Texas politics

Closing Arguments Set in Texas Redistricting Trial

Opponents say maps violate Voting Rights Act

By Henry C. Jackson
|  Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012  |  Updated 10:45 AM CDT
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Closing Arguments Set in Redistricting Trial

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Attorneys for the Justice Department and state of Texas are making their closing arguments in a Washington courtroom over whether electoral maps crafted by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature violate the Voting Rights Act.

The three-judge panel has listened to two weeks of testimony and must decide whether the new maps of the state's legislative and congressional districts violate a section of the federal statute that requires pre-approval from the Justice Department for states with a history of racial discrimination.

Texas is one of nine, mostly southern states that require so-called "pre-clearance."

The Justice Department and a coalition of minority groups argue that Texas lawmakers recut several districts to dilute minority voting power.

The state denies the claim and maintains the new districts were designed to solidify and improve Republican chances.

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