Justice Department rejects Texas redistricting maps
Feds find fault with 2 redistricting maps
Lawyers say proposals on state House and Congress violate Voting Rights Act standards.
By Nolan Hicks
Updated 01:13 a.m., Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department said two of Texas’ controversial redistricting maps didn’t comply with the Voting Rights Act’s minimum standards, finding that the proposed changes to state House and congressional districts failed to maintain or increase the ability of minorities to elect their candidates of choice.
While the department’s filing in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Monday isn’t binding, it virtually assures that Attorney General Greg Abbott’s lawsuit will head to trial. In the past, it has usually fallen to the department to certify that Texas’ redistricting plans don’t violate civil rights protections. Abbott bypassed that process by taking redistricting to the court.
Legal observers expect the three-judge panel assigned to the case to set a trial date as early as Wednesday.