The challenges of the Mexican-American caucus go down in representation

AUSTIN, Texas – Mexican-American lawmakers, unhappy with the decline in the number of Latino-majority districts in the Texas House, took their case to the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Republicans dominated the drawing of legislative maps during a special session late last summer. That prompted at least five legal challenges; some, focused on House and Senate maps, will go through state courts; others, aimed at congressional maps, will go through the federal judicial system and potentially land in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Mexican-American Legislative Caucus, a loose alliance of lawmakers supporting Latin representation, has challenged both state and federal courts. The group notes that 95% of growth in Texas over the past decade has been driven by the state’s colorful communities. That growth was the impetus that gave Texas two new seats in Congress.

“Despite that growth and demographic change, the state and congressional districts have adopted manipulated electoral maps to reduce the number of districts with Latino and minority election opportunities,” according to a statement released by MALC on Wednesday. “Specifically, the state map reduces the number of Latino majority seats by 3 from 33 to 30 and decreases the total number of minority districts from 40 to 34. In addition, the two newly designed Congressional districts were drafted with English majorities, ignoring. Significant demographic changes across the state. “

The case before the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday is one that can be labeled as the “county line” challenge. Lawmakers say sections of the Texas House map in the Rio Grande Valley violate a section of the Texas Constitution, Article III, Sec. 26, which was made in 1876.

The section, which outlines how legislative districts should be designed in the Texas House, says, in part, “When a single county has enough population to be entitled to a representative, that county shall be a separate representative district, sufficient population to be entitled to one representative, or more counties are required to constitute the proportion of representation, such counties shall be contiguous with each other, and where a county has more than enough population to be entitled to one or more representatives, representatives shall be distributed to that county, and for any surplus population may join in a representative district with any other adjoining county or county.

MALC alleges that Cameron County was divided in such a way that it violates the county line rule. The challenge, filed Wednesday, was filed by the MALC and consolidated with similar cases by Senator Roland Gutierrez, a San Antonio MP, and former State Board member Ruben Cortez, who is running in a Democratic second round in the House District. . 37.

Deputy Attorney General Lanora Pitts, arguing on behalf of Gov. Greg Abbott and Secretary of State John Scott, said the MALC and the candidates had no position on the case because they did not claim any injuries. Nor does the MALC have the right to challenge the map when Texas lawmakers still have a chance to go back and draw lines during the next legislative session.

Both sides agree that the current legal challenge will not affect the 2022 election cycle.

Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is not a member of the legislature, supports the idea that lawmakers should go through the district redistribution process again in the next session, Pitts said. Court members have expressed some skepticism that Paxton’s opinion would ensure that the Texas legislature would take such action when the 88th session is called in 2023.

If the Texas Supreme Court agrees that lawmakers have no position and should be given the opportunity to address the maps, all challenges would be removed.

Attorneys Wallace Jefferson of Alexander Dubose & Jefferson and Sean McCaffity of Sommerman, McCaffity, Quesada and Geisler, who represented lawmakers, argued that the MALC was authorized in previous cases. The court addressed the county line challenge, presented by similar groups of lawmakers and voters, during the redistribution of districts in the 1970s and 1980s.

The challenges of the Mexican-American caucus go down in representation

Source link The challenges of the Mexican-American caucus go down in representation

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