Texas Congressional Maps Are Struck Down for Discrimination

In Voting On
- Updated

AUSTIN, Tex. — A panel of federal judges in San Antonio has ruled that a handful of Texas congressional districts drawn by the Republican-dominated state Legislature in 2011 discriminated against black and Hispanic voters and violated the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution.

The significance of the ruling striking down the maps lies in part in its potential penalty.

Texas had been one of several mostly Southern states that required federal approval before making changes to its voting laws, because of the states’ history of discrimination. But the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling that struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act freed Texas and the other states and localities from requiring advance federal permission before changing their voting procedures, a process known as preclearance.

The Supreme Court’s decision left intact provisions of the Voting Rights Act that allow federal courts to put a state or jurisdiction back under preclearance if it is found to have intentionally discriminated against minorities.

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