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Federal Court Won’t Clear Texas Redistricting Plan

Texas Sen. Wendy Davis' offices were firebombed yesterday by what police characterize as a mentally-ill suspect.

A three-judge federal panel has found that Texas' redistricting plans do not merit approval.

The State of Texas sued Attorney General Eric Holder in an effort to get the federal government to sign off on the plans. But in a newly-released opinion, the court states “that Texas has failed to show that any of the redistricting plans” – for seats in the U.S. Congress, the Texas House and the Texas Senate –  “merits preclearance.”

Political blog Talking Points Memo links to the opinion here.

Below, an excerpt from the court’s finding:

The latest Census reports that since 2000 the population of Texas grew by over four  million. This dramatic increase required the Texas legislature to create new voting districts for  the four seats added to the State’s congressional delegation …  and draw new boundaries for the state and congressional voting districts to  comply with the mandate of one-person, one-vote … Because Texas is a covered jurisdiction under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 … the Attorney General of the United States or a three-judge panel of this Court must approve, or “preclear,” any redistricting plan before it can take effect. … Texas chose not to seek administrative preclearance and instead seeks from this  Court a declaratory judgment that its redistricting plans will neither have “the purpose nor will  have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, or [language  minority group].” …  The United States opposes preclearance of the redistricting plans for Texas’s congressional delegation and the State House of Representatives, but has no quarrel with the plan for the Texas Senate. Seven Intervenors raise a variety of challenges that collectively encompass all three plans. We conclude that Texas has failed to show that any of the redistricting plans merits preclearance.

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