Federal Court Orders Texas Congressional Map Redrawn, Finding Discrimination of Minorities

This post is being updated frequently. Check back for new information.A federal court has ordered Texas to redraw its congressional district map after finding it had twice been intentionally drawn to discriminate against minorities.In March, the three-judge panel in San Antonio invalidated three of the state's congressional districts because they were drawn intentionally discriminatory during a redistricting process in 2011. But the court did not order those districts redrawn because it still needed to rule on whether they had been fixed after a court-ordered remedial mapdrawing process in 2013.In a 107-page order released Tuesday, the court ruled that two of those districts - District 27 in Corpus Christi, represented by Republican Blake Farenthold, and District 35 in Austin, represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett - were again drawn with discriminatory intent in 2013 and ordered them redrawn."The discriminatory taint was not removed by the Legislature's enactment of the Court's interim plans, because the Legislature engaged in no deliberative process to remove any such taint, and in fact intended any such taint to be maintained but be safe from remedy," the ruling read. "The Legislature in 2014 intentionally furthered and continued the existing discrimination in the plans." Plaintiffs in the case -- which include minority lawmakers and civil rights organizations -- had also challenged the fairness of districts drawn in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The court sided with the state on those challenges, saying discriminatory issues had either been resolved in the redrawing process or could not be proven in court by the plaintiffs. The court also left intact the southwest Texas District 23, represented by Republican Will Hurd, saying "there is no evidence of intentional discrimination/dilution."The court gave the state three days to notify it whether and when the Legislature will take up redistricting in an effort to remedy the discriminatory issues. If the Legislature chooses not to do so, court hearings to consider a remedial plan will begin on Sept. 5.The court asked both parties to consult with their experts and map drawers to come up with solutions that would "remedy the violations" found in the districts "yet minimize the effect on adjoining districts."   Continue reading...

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