Democrats Lose Texas Case

The U.S. Supreme Court is handing down the final decisions of the current term; this morning the court ruled on League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, the Texas redistricting case. You can access the Court’s decision here. The Democrats had hoped that the Court would throw out the redistricting plan that was adopted after the Republicans gained control of the Texas legislature, but the Court rejected almost all of the Democrats’ claims. The Court ordered that a single district be withdrawn to give greater weight to Hispanic interests; otherwise, the redistricting was upheld in its entirety.

The New York Times reports on the decision here, calling it “a small victory for Democratic and minority groups.” Critics of the current districts typically say that the Republicans gerrymandered Texas to maximize Republican representation. Actually, though, prior to 2003 the Democrats had gerrymandered Texas’s districts, so that most Texas Congressmen were Democrats, even though most Texans were voting for Republicans. The Court itself noted this rather pointedly:

Under Plan 1151C, the 2002 congressional elections resulted in a 17-to-15 Democratic majority in the Texas delegation, compared to a 59% to 40% Republican majority in votes for statewide office in 2000, thus leaving the 1991 Democratic gerrymander largely in place.

In fact, the current districts, while favorable to Republicans, more nearly reflect the state’s voting patterns than the Democratic gerrymander that they replaced.


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