- Voting rights
Perez v. Perry
MALDEF and the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force filed suit against the State of Texas in June 2011 in order to secure new redistricting plans that treat all voters fairly and accurately reflect the population growth in Texas over the last decade. The 2010 Census showed that Latinos accounted for 65% of the population growth in Texas and that Latinos were largely responsible for Texas gaining four additional congressional seats.
MALDEF and the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force were at the forefront of the fight to ensure that the political strength of Latinos was accurately reflected in the new redistricting plans, and MALDEF successfully litigated on behalf of the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force before a federal three-judge panel in San Antonio, securing interim, court-drawn maps that more fairly reflected Latino political strength than the maps drawn by the Texas State Legislature. Texas appealed the new, court-drawn maps to the U.S. Supreme Court, and on January 20, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in Perez v. Perry that affirmed the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act's preclearance provisions and instructed the district court on requirements for redrawing the Texas congressional, senate and house redistricting plans. The Supreme Court refused to allow Texas to put its congressional, state senate and state house redistricting plans into effect because they had not been precleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and it instructed the district court in San Antonio on requirements for drawing interim Texas congressional, senate and house redistricting plans.
The San Antonio three-judge panel directed that parties to the litigation attempt to agree upon and present interim plans. MALDEF presented a strong legal case to the court in order to convince it that additional Latino majority districts needed to be created. MALDEF attorneys successfully persuaded the State of Texas to agree to new redistricting plans that create additional Latino majority congressional and State House seats. Ultimately, the district court in Texas reviewed the positions of all the litigants in the case and applied the legal standards set out by the Supreme Court to create the following plans:
Congressional Plan (C226)
The court-ordered interim plan increases by two the number of majority-minority congressional districts in Texas – from seven to nine. In 2012, of the four new congressional seats awarded to Texas, two of the four new seats are majority-minority. The interim map also preserves the current effectiveness of all existing Latino-majority congressional districts, including congressional district 23 in West Texas, which was created as a Latino opportunity district following MALDEF’s U.S. Supreme Court victory in LULAC v. Perry in 2006.
Texas House Plan
The court-ordered interim plan increases by one the number of Texas State House districts in which Latinos have an opportunity to elect their preferred candidate. For the 2012 elections, of the 150 seats in the Texas House of Representatives, 34 are Latino opportunity districts, including a new Latino-majority district in Houston and a Latino-majority district in the Rio Grande Valley.