Common Cause Brief Urges Justices To Overturn Texas Districts

Legislature Set Out To Discriminate Against Latino Voters, Groups Argue

Common Cause is joining in a legal challenge to Texas legislative districts that federal courts have twice ruled were gerrymandered by the state legislature to discriminate against Latino voters.

Partnering with the Voting Rights Institute in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court on Wednesday in the case of Abbott v. Perez, the nonpartisan watchdog group argued that districts revised by Texas lawmakers in 2013 failed to address – much less remedy – the racial discrimination a federal judge had found in an earlier set of district boundaries.

“The scofflaw actions of the Texas Legislature must be reined in by our nation’s highest court,” said Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn. “If the court does not act, we risk slipping back into one of our nation’s darkest chapters before the Voting Rights Act prohibited race-based voter suppression tactics that were common in the post-Reconstruction South.”

“Every Texan deserves fair and equal representation, but the legislature’s insistence on trying to predetermine the outcome of our elections has denied many members of minority communities that representation and led to this seemingly endless litigation,” said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas.

“Just as our nation’s highest court did during the Jim Crow era,” Gutierrez added, “we are confident that the Supreme Court will act once again to strike down this effort by the Texas Legislature to draw district lines to deny minority communities their right to equal representation under the Voting Rights Act.”

Abbott v. Perez is set for argument in the high court on April 24.