From the National Journal:
“In a lengthy, sweeping decision, a federal court in Washington on Tuesday unanimously struck down Texas’ new congressional map, ruling that the plan was enacted with ‘discriminatory purpose’ against Hispanics protected under the Voting Rights Act. The ruling will not affect this year’s elections, but barring successful appeal, Texas would have to redraw its maps before 2014.
The three-judge panel ruled that Texas legislators drew a map that intentionally denied fair representation to Hispanic voters during the state’s decennial redistricting process. On a narrower, 2-1 basis, the court also ruled that the new map ‘does not entitle minorities to proportional representation.’ “
And here’s the lumping part from Huff Post Latino Voices:
“After Texas won four new seats in the 2010 reapportionment process — something which was due almost entirely to growth in the state’s Latino population — its state legislature attempted to circumvent the Voting Rights Act. In a November 2010 email obtained by the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund and presented as evidence in court, a Texas legislative staffer suggested drafting new districts by identifying communities with a large number of voters with ‘Spanish’ surnames and low voter turnout, then lumping them together into an opportunity district.
Staffers drawing the state’s new congressional districts pushed areas with a large number of very active Latino voters into mostly Republican and non-Hispanic white districts. With these maps in place, the impact of the more active and largely Democratic-leaning Latino voters would be minimized and Republicans in these areas could be safely reelected. With the new districts in place, it became highly unlikely that candidates preferred by minority voters would hold any of the state’s new congressional seats.”
Now, I don’t share the foaming animosity toward Republicans that some of my left-wing compadres harbor. I believe in republican politics, and so I know that any form of representative government should welcome a wide range of views and ideologies, progressive as well as conservative.
That being said, isn’t it clear that some sections of the Republican Party are determined to suppress the minority vote in 2012?
First, and despite no evidence that voter fraud is anything but an extremely rare occurrence, the Republican Party has made it a part of their platform to push for voter ID laws nationwide. In Pennsylvania, a Democratic-leaning battleground state, voter ID supporters are upholding a law that could potentially disenfranchise 1.4 million voters in the state — 1 in 3 voters in the Philly area alone — even though voter IDers have admitted to having no evidence of voter fraud at the polls.
And in Texas, where the addition of 4.2 million residents since 2000 (or a 20.6 percent increase) is attributed to Latinos, Republicans in the state are trying to redraw district maps as to limit Latino influence in elections.
I promise I’m no conspiracy theorists. But if something walks like discrimination and talks like discrimination, it’s probably discrimination.