State and federal courts have ruled that the GOP-led Texas Legislature intentionally discriminated against minority Texans when they drew new political districts. This discrimination left whole communities without a voice in the political process. Redistricting in Texas is broken and it's time to do something about it.

The Republican legislature has proven that it cannot draw fair maps. I believe it's time the courts weigh in and issue new maps for Texas.


What is redistricting?
Redistricting is a Constitutionally required process that occurs every 10 years in which districts for the U.S. House and state legislatures are redrawn to accommodate for population growth. Once the U.S. Census Bureau releases new population figures for all 50 states (in every year ending in “1”), seats in the U.S. House are allocated accordingly. The number of congressional districts nationwide is 435 - some states gain seats, some lose seats, and some keep the same number of seats. But regardless of whether or not your state gains or loses, new districts for congressional seats and state legislative seats must be drawn to create districts that are equal (or as close to possible) in population.

Source: Washington Post

What has been happening in Texas? 
Courts have ruled that three of Texas' congressional districts are "intentionally discriminatory" and violate both the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. Courts also found that Republicans had used race as a motivating factor in redistricting. 

Texas Tribune: Federal court sets July trial date in Texas redistricting case

Most recently, a three-judge panel ruled on March 10, 2017 that Texas's congressional districts drawn in 2011 are illegal. The court ruled that the GOP "knowingly discriminated" against minorities and in the process violated both the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution. Texas Republicans have proven they cannot be trusted to oversee the critical responsibility of redistricting and it is time to create a non-partisan Independent Redistricting Commission. 

These maps are from 2011 and we are still fighting them?
Texas has used interim plans ordered by the Courts in 2013 so we could proceed with elections while the litigation continued.  The redistricting controversy did begin in 2011, of course, the same year that then-Gov. Rick Perry signed a voter ID law that a federal appeals court ultimately found discriminates against minorities. We are fast approaching the 2020 Census, and thus next redistricting period and we still don't have constitutional maps from 2010 Census.

What happens now?
If Texas appeals the redistricting decision, it will go directly to the Supreme Court, which recently tossed North Carolina redistricting plans on the basis that they discriminated on the basis of race.


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