In the eyes of the federal courts, it probably doesn’t matter — for electoral purposes — that the political lines in Fort Worth’s 90th Texas House District are discriminatory. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled almost entirely in favor of the state of Texas in a challenge to the political maps drawn for congressional and state House seats, with one exception, saying HD-90 is the one district where racial discrimination via redistricting crossed the legal lines. They sent the case back to lower federal judges for whatever nips and tucks their ruling requires. In turn, that lower court — three judges working out of San Antonio — last week asked the horde of redistricting lawyers to say by next month how each would make repairs.
But those three judges also said that the maps now in place — including that illegal design in Tarrant County — will be used for this year’s elections. “Regardless of what is decided for HD-90, all the maps for the 2018 elections will remain the same as for 2016.”
To summarize: It’s wrong. Voters in one part of the state were — and are now — being discriminated against. Don’t worry about it, though — just proceed as planned.
From a partisan standpoint, it doesn’t matter. It’s a Democratic district whether the courts “remedy” it or not. State Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth, is the current occupant, and a redraw would be unlikely to turn it red. The primaries are behind us now, and this latest ruling means there won’t be a re-do of those elections. It’s impossible to say, then, whether a differently drawn HD-90 would have prompted new people to run, possibly with a different result in the Democratic primary that effectively chooses who will represent more than 160,000 Texans in their state Legislature.