Except for one state legislative district, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Texas congressional and state legislative districts and overturned a lower court decision that the districts were racially discriminatory. The lower court in Abbott v. Perez had previously determined that the districts violated 14th Amendment equal protection and the Voting Rights Act. Common Cause filed an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiff-appellees in this case.
“Voting rights in Texas were dealt a severe blow today by the U.S. Supreme Court as the Roberts Court upheld the legislature’s extreme racial gerrymander that robbed hundreds of thousands of minority residents of a voice in Austin,” said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas. “In the face of a U.S. Supreme Court majority that is hostile to voting rights, it is time for Texans to take up the fight for fair maps by establishing an independent redistricting commission. In a democracy, politicians have no business choosing their voters, it is the voters who should be choosing their politicians.”
“It is time for voters to take up the fight to pass redistricting reform at the state and local level because a narrow Supreme Court majority under Chief Justice John Roberts has failed to protect the voting rights of minority communities,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “It is vitally important that Americans make their voices heard in the halls of power or an epidemic of racial gerrymanders that suppress minority voting power will spring from the 2020 Census. Today’s decision comes on the fifth anniversary of Shelby County v. Holder, where the Supreme Court struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act and put restoring the legislation into the hands of Congress. We call on Congress to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act to curb racial discrimination in voting.”
To read the amicus brief filed by Common Cause and the Voting Rights Institute, click here.