Eight months ahead of the 2018 primaries, Texas and its legal foes on Monday will kick off a week-long trial that could shake up races across the state. The state and minority rights groups have been squabbling for six years over new political district boundaries drawn following the 2010 census. As part of a long-winding legal battle, a panel of three federal judges this week will reconvene in a federal courthouse here to consider the validity of the state’s political maps and whether changes should quickly be made to the state’s House and Congressional boundaries ahead of the midterm elections. At issue is whether the current boundaries violate the voting rights of millions of Texans of color.
The showdown comes months after the panel of judges found fault with the state’s 2011 drafts of the political maps. In a pair of rulings this spring, the judges also found that Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minority voters in crafting them.
Those rulings did not require an immediate remedy because the state has been running elections since 2013 under court-drawn maps that were crafted amid an election scramble and later adopted by the Legislature.