A federal judge has denied Pasadena’s request to throw out a lawsuit challenging its controversial city council redistricting plan, which a group of Hispanic and Latino residents alleges dilutes the voting rights of the suburb’s growing minority population. Judge Lee Rosenthal’s ruling Wednesday after a roughly two-hour court hearing means the case continues toward trial, which Rosenthal has tentatively set for November. Wednesday’s session was one of the first significant hearings in the voting rights case, which has received national attention as emblematic of modern-day battles over the issue more than 50 years after the Voting Rights Act was passed.
The city had asked Rosenthal to rule on a motion for summary judgment in favor of the city’s 3-year-old method of electing the council, which called for races for six single-member seats and two at-large seats, stating that the plan allows the Hispanic minority population the opportunity to elect four members.
Rosenthal rejected that argument, stating that the new method creates a majority of Hispanic citizens of voting age in three districts, compared to four in the previous election system, when there were eight single-member districts.