A judicial ruling means Texas’ primary elections will not be delayed since the state will be able to use existing voting maps, not the controversial 2011 maps drawn by the legislature, deemed as illegal by civil rights groups. But advocates may not be able to claim victory for long, since the ruling is temporary as judges sort out a complex and possibly precedent-setting lawsuit. The three-judge panel in San Antonio gave both sides in the lawsuit over Texas’ voting maps reason to claim victory. The court will not draw its own map for the 2014 elections, as civil rights groups wanted, but it also did not throw out the lawsuit completely, as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott requested. But the ruling is viewed largely as a win for state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, because the redistricting case at one time threatened to dismantle her senate district.
“She stood tall and defended her constituents who were the victims of intentional discrimination and fought a very uphill battle against Gregg Abbott and [Gov.] Rick Perry and state officials who were trying to dismantle an effective coalition of Blacks and Latinos,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Davis’ attorney, to Texas Public Radio.
Davis and the League of United Latin American Citizens, commonly known as LULAC, a national civil rights organization, successfully challenged the Republican dismantling of her Senate district.
The fundamental issue of the lawsuit, filed in 2011, is whether the Legislature illegally drew political maps that intentionally diminish the voting power of minorities in Texas.
Abbott’s office has argued in court papers that Republicans who control the Legislature drew maps to boost the chances of their party — which is legal — and that if minorities who vote predominantly Democratic are hurt as a result, that does not constitute a civil rights violation.