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The Racist Map Wins

12 1230 0

On Tuesday evening, the Supreme Court blocked two rulings by a federal district court that would have required Texas to redraw its state and federal congressional districts. The lower court had ruled that the Texas Legislature illegally gerrymandered these districts along racial lines and ordered new maps for the 2018 election. But by a 5–4 vote, the Supreme Court put that order on hold, ensuring that the gerrymander will remain through 2018. The decision may also indicate that the five Republican-appointed justices will eventually reverse the district court’s decisions altogether.

The Supreme Court’s abrupt intervention is a devastating blow to the years-long fight against race-based voter suppression in Texas. Since 2011, federal courts have ruled nine times that Texas intentionally discriminated against minority voters. Before Tuesday, civil rights advocates had good reason to believe that the judiciary would finally put a stop to the Texas GOP’s anti-democratic chicanery. Now it seems that the high court’s conservative bloc may thwart this progress and force Texan minorities to continue suffering under a self-perpetuating and racist system of vote dilution.

Voting rights activists have been suing Texas over its discriminatory legislative districts since 2011. They claim that Texas’ GOP-dominated legislature intentionally gerrymandered the state after the 2010 census to dilute the voting power of minorities, particularly Latinos. Both the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act prohibit race-based vote dilution. Thus, the plaintiffs in these cases have argued that either the Texas Legislature or a........

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