A panel of three federal judges in San Antonio, Thursday, heard plaintiffs’ arguments in a long-running case against Texas’ redistricting practices. They want Texas to go back under federal oversight when it redraws its political maps after the 2020 census.
The argument goes back to 2013 when, two years after the federal government concluded a national census and Texas lawmakers had redrawn the political maps, a federal court ruled the state had intentionally tried to weaken the voting strength of people of color. But later in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act that required states with a history of discrimination to clear changes to voting laws with the federal government before implementing them. This new case seeks to reinstitute some of that federal oversight.
Michael Li, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, was at the courthouse Thursday. He says he was surprised how the judges reacted to the plaintiffs’ request.
“That’s rarely been done elsewhere,” Li says. “There was reason to think that the judges might be a little skeptical or skittish about doing it. From the questioning, there seemed to be at least some hope that that might actually happen for the plaintiffs because they got a lot of very favorable questions from one of the judges.”
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– How the three federal judges have different perspectives on Texas redistricting
– What the plaintiffs are asking for in this case
– What happens if the court doesn’t decide to put Texas back under federal supervision
Written by Caroline Covington.