By Robert Legare, Aaron Navarro
Washington — The Justice Department filed suit against the state of Texas on Monday over the state’s redistricting of congressional maps, saying the plans violate the voting rights of minority voters.
The 45-page suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleges that Texas has “again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans and continued its refusal to comply with the Voting Rights Act, absent intervention by the Attorney General or the federal courts.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Vanita Gupta announced the lawsuit at Justice Department headquarters in Washington. “These redistricting plans will diminish the opportunities for Latino and Black voters in Texas to elect their preferred representatives. And that is prohibited by federal law,” Gupta said Monday.
Every 10 years, the number of congressional seats in each state changes based on population figures gathered by the census, with states that have grown getting more seats and states that have shrunk getting fewer. Each state is responsible for drawing its own map to define their congressional districts. Based on the results of the 2020 census, Texas’ congressional delegation increased by two, from 36 to 38 seats.
Texas’ population grew by 4 million people over the past decade, 95% of whom were non-White, the suit said. That growth has changed the demographics of its metro-suburban areas and resulted in more competitive races for incumbent Republicans. Texas’ Republican-controlled legislature passed the state’s new map in October and took those competitive seats off the map by extending them to include more rural and Republican-leaning areas.