A panel of U.S. district judges ruled that nine Texas House districts must be redrawn because their configuration intentionally discriminated against minorities.
In Dallas Co., the court determined that the intentional discrimination it found in the western part of the county “still exists,” and ordered changes be made to HD103, HD104 and HD015, represented respectively by Reps. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), Roberto Alonzo (D-Dallas) and Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie). The latter won re-election by just 64 votes over Democratic challenger Terry Meza.
In Tarrant Co., the court found that “mapdrawers increased the [percentage of Hispanic/Latino registered voters] in HD90 in bad faith … and to simultaneously shore up the Anglo population of HD93,” which are represented respectively by Reps. Ramon Romero Jr. (D-Fort Worth) and Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth).
In Nueces Co., the court found that “HD32 and HD34 were racially gerrymandered to dilute Latino voting strength and protect incumbent” Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) by packing HD34, represented by Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Corpus Christi) with Hispanic/Latino voters.
In Bell Co., the court found that plaintiff’s claims of intentional discrimination and vote dilution – specifically in the way Killeen was split between districts – “have merit,” requiring adjustments to HD54 and HD55, represented respectively by Reps. Scott Cosper (R-Killeen) and Hugh Shine (R-Temple).
The court found no changes were required in Bexar, Fort Bend and Harris Cos., rejecting plaintiffs’ claims or finding insufficient evidence to order alterations. It rejected plaintiffs’ standing to pursue claims in Ector and Midland Cos.
As it did with its congressional district decision, the court asked the state to advise whether the Legislature will address the map in a special session. Absent legislative action, a hearing will be held to consider remedial plans beginning on September 6. This is the day after the court has scheduled a remedial hearing for the two congressional districts it struck down last week.
“The judges held that maps they themselves adopted violate the law,” said Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton in a statement. “Needless to say, we will appeal.”
The court previously found that the maps adopted by the Legislature in 2011 contained constitutional defects, but those maps were never used. The court adopted maps used for the 2012 election, and the Legislature largely adopted those maps when it passed redistricting legislation in 2013.
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