Parts of the Texas House map must be redrawn ahead of the 2018 elections because lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities in crafting several legislative districts, federal judges ruled on Thursday. A three-judge panel in San Antonio unanimously ruled that Texas must address violations that could affect the configuration of House districts in four counties, where lawmakers diluted the strength of voters of color. In some cases, the court found mapdrawers intentionally undercut minority voting power “to ensure Anglo control” of legislative districts. Adjusting those boundaries could have a ripple effect on other races.
The 83-page decision was the latest twist in a six-year-legal battle. The judges had already ruled that the Texas Legislature intentionally sought to weaken the strength of Latino and black voters while drawing the House map in 2011.
But the 2011 map never actually took effect because the court drew temporary maps ahead of the 2012 elections. State lawmakers formally adopted the map in 2013 with few changes. Texas has used that map for the past three election cycles.
In adopting the 2013 map, the court ruled on Thursday that lawmakers “purposefully maintained the intentional discrimination” found in the previous map.