WASHINGTON — A three-judge federal court Tuesday found the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature guilty of discriminating against Latinos and blacks in the drawing of new election districts and threw out its redistricting plans for both the U.S. House of Representatives and the state Legislature.
The ruling will not affect the November elections. Earlier this year, federal judges in Texas drew an interim districting plan to be used this year only.
Citing the Voting Rights Act, the judges said the state’s new election districts deliberately undercut the voting power of the growing Latino population. And while the GOP Legislature shored up the districts held by white Republicans, it “removed the economic guts” of the urban districts held by black Democrats, the judges said in a 154-page opinion.
The Texas population grew by 4.3 million in the last decade, and 89% of the growth was made up of Latinos, blacks and Asians, the court said. Yet, minority lawmakers were not likely to win even one more seat in Congress under the plan struck down Tuesday.