Texas was the big winner in the 2010 census when it picked up four congressional seats, due mainly to growth in its Hispanic population. A Supreme Court case being argued Tuesday threatens to diminish Latinos’ clout and benefit white, rural voters. Two voters in Texas are asking the court to order a drastic change in the way Texas and every other state divides their electoral districts. Rather than basing the maps on total population, including non-citizens and children who aren’t old enough to vote, states must count only people who are eligible to vote, the challengers say. They argue that change is needed to carry out the true meaning of the principle of one person, one vote. They claim that taking account of total population can lead to vast differences in the number of voters in particular districts, along with corresponding differences in the power of those voters. A court ruling in their favor would shift more power to rural areas and away from urban districts in which there are large immigrant populations that are ineligible to vote because they are too young or not citizens.
There’s only one explanation for the court fight, said Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund. “The plaintiffs in Texas are interested in stemming the growth of Latino political power,” he said.
The legal challenge is being financed by Edward Blum, whose Project on Fair Representation also is behind a Texas affirmative action challenge that will be argued before the high court on Wednesday, as well as the lawsuit that led to the 2013 decision that wiped away a key element of the federal Voting Rights Act.
A second case on Tuesday’s agenda also involves the one-person, one-vote principle that the high court established in Reynolds v. Sims in 1964. The court held that a state’s legislative districts must have roughly equal numbers of people.
Full Article: News from The Associated Press.