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U.S. District Court Rejects Texas Redistricting Maps Drawn by Legislature

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Redistricting plans drawn up by the Texas Legislature in 2011 have been rejected by federal judges.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that state prosecutors failed to show that the lawmakers did not draw the maps “without discriminatory purposes.

The maps were for congressional and state Senate districts, and were originally thrown out by a federal district court panel in San Antonio. The panel drew their own maps and modified some districts in the state to favor minorities and Democrats.

Texas is among 16 states that are required to get preclearance from the U.S. Department of Justice, under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The U.S. Supreme Court threw out the court-drawn maps in January of 2012, and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with their opinion. The panel redrew the maps following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott weighed in on the U.S. District Court’s Tuesday ruling, saying:

“Today’s decision extends the Voting Rights Act beyond the limits intended by Congress and beyond the boundaries imposed by the Constitution. The Attorney General’s Office will continue defending the maps enacted by the Texas Legislature and will immediately take steps to appeal this flawed decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Washington DC court’s decision applies to the maps originally enacted by the Texas Legislature–so the November elections will proceed as planned under the interim maps drawn by the federal court in San Antonio.”

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