Court asked to rule now on election maps dispute
By Ian White
PLAINTIFFS challenging the Texas congressional election maps adopted in 2011 filed a joint motion on Friday to compel a federal district court to issue an urgent decision on their claims that the redistricted maps are discriminatory and violate the federal Voting Rights act and the US constitution.
If the three-judge San Antonio court does not issue its final decision by January 17, the motion said the plaintiffs will “seek relief in an appellate court” to prevent what they claim are the Republican-supported maps’ gerrymandering effects.
The election boundaries in current use are based on interim plans ordered by the San Antonio court in 2012 but the plaintiffs say the plans retain many of the features they claim discriminate against Hispanic and African-American voters, especially those in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, the border region, Travis County and Dallas-Fort Worth.
According to Democrat activist Matt Angle, the motion argues that continued delay not only allows continuing harm to minority voters but could prevent resolution of the case before a new census is taken.
He said: “A decision from the court is long overdue. It has been nearly six years since the complaints were initially filed and more than two years since the trial on the merits of the case concluded.”
Angle, above, is the director of Democrat-leaning political action committee Lone Star Project, which has been engaged in the Texas redistricting fight from its outset, supporting the overall efforts of the plaintiffs in the case and providing technical and financial support to one group, known as the Quesada plaintiffs.
He said: “Texas Republicans adopted maps that are off the charts in terms of racial and partisan gerrymandering. They grossly and intentionally discriminate against Hispanic and African-American Texans, which harms every Texas citizen.
“The court has a hard and complicated job sorting out how extensively Texas Republicans have violated the law but a decision is needed now so that the work to repair the damage being done to all Texas voters can begin.”