Biden DOJ accuses Texas of discriminating against black and Latino voters in lawsuit to block new electoral map

The Biden administration is suing the state of Texas (again), this time alleging that the state’s redistricting plans for the Texas Congressional Delegation and state House of Representatives illegally discriminate against black and Latino voters.

In a speech delivered Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland accused Texas of violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and announced a lawsuit to block the state’s newly adopted electoral map from taking effect.

“Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act requires that state voting laws – including laws that draw electoral maps – provide eligible voters with an equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process and elect representatives of their choosing,” Garland said.

He continued: “The complaint we filed today alleges that Texas has violated Section 2 by creating redistricting plans that deny or abridge the rights of Latino and Black voters to vote on account of their race, color or membership in a language minority group.”

The complaint follows the nationwide redistricting process that happens every 10 years after new census data is released. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in October signed into law a new congressional map that critics say is intended to keep Republicans in power by diluting the minority vote through gerrymandering.

While the 2020 census showed that Hispanic, black, and Asian minorities comprised nearly 95% of the population growth in Texas over the last decade, the Republican-controlled legislature drew the new map in such a way that minority neighborhoods must share congressional districts with large populations of white voters.

“In a bid to hold the political turf, Republicans zeroed in on communities with high shares of potential voters of color and grafted them onto massive districts dominated by white voters,” the Texas Tribune charged in a report on the redistricting plan last October.

President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice claims that the way the maps were drawn was intended to harm minority communities “because it has the discriminatory purpose of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color or membership in a language minority group in that it deliberately minimizes the voting strength of minority communities.”

The lawsuit claims that Texas’ redistricting plan ‘has the discriminatory result of leading to an inequality in the opportunities for minority voters to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice.”

“The department’s career voting law experts have assessed Texas’s new redistricting plans and determined that they include districts that violate the Voting Rights Act,” Garland said Monday.

The Biden administration is asking the court to order Texas to draw a new map that complies with the government’s interpretation of federal law.

Responding, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton predicted the state will ultimately prevail.

“The Department of Justice’s absurd lawsuit against our state is the Biden Administration’s latest ploy to control Texas voters,” Paxton’s office said. “I am confident that our legislature’s redistricting decisions will be proven lawful, and this preposterous attempt to sway democracy will fail.”

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