News Worms
News Worms


Texas made gerrymandering mess and now needs to clean it up

Texas made gerrymandering mess and now needs to clean it up

Commentary: A federal court ruled Friday that the Texas Legislature's 2011 redistricting plan for congress discriminated against Latino voters in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.

A panel of judges said Republican legislators altered the districts in 2011 so minority votes would carry less weight.

The ruling held that Texas Republicans violated the Voting Rights act by making the borders either concentrate a lot of Latino voters in one area or split one community among two districts.

While the ruling only includes three districts, if they must be redrawn to more evenly distribute the state's Hispanic population, it could have ripple effects on a number of neighboring districts that could also become more competitive for Democrats. Typically, redistricting occurs once every 10 years after the US census. Yet white Republicans, a minority in the metropolis, control four of five Congressional seats. If they don't, it's likely all three districts will be redrawn before the 2020 census dictates the usual round of redistricting.

"If you set out to draw a map for political reasons, it will often look like you are drawing it for racial reasons", Ross Ramsey, executive editor and co-founder of the Texas Tribune said, "and the courts decided in this case that they went over the line and that they drew for racial reasons and that they went too far".

Any appeal from the decision of the three-judge trial court would go directly to the United States Supreme Court.

Texas was forced ahead of the November election to weaken its voter ID law, which allows concealed handgun licenses but not college student IDs, after a federal appeals court found that the requirements particularly hampered minorities and the poor. Nina Perales is vice president of litigation for MALDEF, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which was counsel for Latino challengers to the redistricting plan.

Two of the three districts found to be illegal are held by Republicans; the third, Texas's 35th district, is held by Democrat Lloyd Doggett.

Judge Jerry Smith wrote a sharp dissent, with harsh words for the Justice Department. "And the DoJ lawyers saw themselves as an expeditionary landing party arriving here, just in time, to rescue the state from oppression, obviously presuming that plaintiffs' counsel were not up to the task". These voters' needs must be addressed, they said. But it has outlived its usefulness, as the Supreme Court recognized in 2013.

follow

editors' picks

March 14, 2017
Emma Watson on why she turned down La La Land
Emma Watson had to go to "Belle Bootcamp" to learn how to ride a horse, sing and dance for her role in " Beauty and the Beast ". A church in Singapore has sent an "alert" about the "homosexual content" of the new Beauty and the Beast film.

March 14, 2017
House is completely encased in ice by freezing storm in NY
The area is one of the snowiest in the country, thanks to freezing winter temperatures and the moisture of the nearby Great Lakes. After initially posting photos to Facebook , Kucko used the video to prove the house is truly coated in 7 inches of ice.

March 14, 2017
A look at Canada's defence spending and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation obligations, by the numbers
Trump has since reaffirmed support for the security alliance but insisted Europeans must "pay their fair share". Ten of NATO's armies now meet or exceed that target, with Lithuania leading the way at close to 28 percent.

March 14, 2017
2016 was 'worst year yet' for Syrian children
Other concerns raised by UNICEF include increasing child labour and early marriage as families struggle to survive. Children across the country are at risk of severe injury while playing around land mines and cluster munitions.

March 14, 2017
3 soldiers killed as Iraqi forces battle Daesh in Mosul
The militant group is now fighting in its last major urban stronghold, in the western part of Mosul, where the museum is located. A fighter from Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service takes cover inside a building in Shuhada, west Mosul.

March 14, 2017
Marissa Mayer to Get $23 Million Golden Parachute After Verizon Buys Yahoo
That figure includes roughly $3 million in cash, almost $20 million in equity and another $24,000 in benefits. In addition, after "discussions with the board", Mayer "offered to forgo" her 2017 annual equity award.

March 14, 2017
Intel spends $20 billion on driverless tech firm Mobileye
He also said he and Chief Technology Officer Amnon Shashua will be "running Mobileye just as we have done in the past". Amid safety concerns about Tesla's Autopilot technology, the two companies engaged in public finger-pointing.

March 13, 2017
Kane's season could be over after ankle injury
Granted, he may not have the vision or hold-up play that Kane gives Tottenham, but his work-rate and eye for a goal makes him a more than able deputy.

March 13, 2017
Starbucks reveals spring themed cups
Spring officially arrives March 20, but Starbucks is hoping to bring a little sunshine to its customers' days before that. Starbucks have always offered seasonal cups, with the Christmas cups being hailed as a sign of the imminent festivities.

March 13, 2017
Toni Anderson found dead in vehicle pulled from Missouri River
Police say Anderson, a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was last seen after she left her job early January 15. Kansas City Police Captain Stacey Graves confirmed the findings but authorities have not yet formally identified the body.