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Democrats Return to Texas to Fight Redistricting Plan

September 11, 2003|From Associated Press

LAREDO, Texas — Ten Democratic state senators returned to Texas on Wednesday, vowing to continue their fight against a Republican-backed congressional plan on redistricting.

With dozens of supporters cheering, the senators who fled to New Mexico six weeks ago to block a quorum arrived in Laredo, where a federal court hearing is scheduled today in their lawsuit against the plan.

The lawsuit alleges that redistricting tramples minority rights in violation of the Voting Rights Act and that their political free speech was violated.

Democrats have a 17-15 majority in the current Texas congressional delegation in Washington, and the GOP is pushing plans that would give Republicans as many as 21 seats.

On July 28, the 11 Texas Democratic legislators slipped across state lines.

Sen. Judith Zaffirini said that if fellow Democrat Sen. John Whitmire of Houston shows up at the Capitol on Monday to make a quorum, the other 10 Democrats will come later. Whitmire returned to Texas last week, breaking the quorum-busting abilities of the other 10.

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