NAACP Applauds Court’s Decision to Block Discriminatory Texas Redistricting PlanAugust 29, 2012
(Austin, TX) – The NAACP commended a federal court’s decision to block the use of new redistricting maps approved by the Texas legislature and Texas Attorney General, based on evidence of discrimination.
“We now have a recent decision of coordinated discrimination on behalf of a governmental body in a jurisdiction covered by the Voting Rights Act,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “That flatly refutes the argument that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is no longer necessary.”
“We are grateful for the decision issued today by the three judge bipartisan panel sitting in D.C.,” stated Texas NAACP State Conference President Gary Bledsoe. “The panel looked at the evidence objectively and applied the law to the facts.”
The bipartisan panel found that the maps failed to comply with Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act. Under Section 5, Texas must show that its redistricting plans have neither the effect nor the purpose of abridging minority voting rights.
“It is notable that the bi-partisan opinion concluded that intentional discrimination existed in the manner that the State of Texas drew the new Congressional districts for each of the African American representatives from Texas,” Bledsoe continued. “The opinion quoted each of the 3 African American Congresspersons in regards to how the economic engines were taken out of their districts, as well as how their Congressional offices were all taken out of the districts drawn by the Legislature. Of important note to the panel was the fact that all white Congresspersons maintained their districts, presenting a stark contrast.”
“The court made broad findings of intentional discrimination based on evidence that the NAACP put on in its case,” stated Allison Riggs, an Attorney at the Southern Coalition of Social Justice who represented the NAACP in court along with President Bledsoe, NAACP Assistant General Counsel Victor Goode, and Attorney Robert Notzon.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.