Federal court rules that Texas House map was drawn to intentionally dilute minority votes

Federal court rules that Texas House map was drawn to intentionally dilute minority votes
Federal court rules that Texas House map was drawn to intentionally dilute minority votes

It's almost like a dream, that we are finally getting around to admitting this.

I hope it leads to the end of gerrymandering.

The difference now is courts are taking nonpartisan mathematical analysis of gerrymandering seriously, and the actual percentage changes in demographics is being considered as evidence. Its an evolution in jurisprudence thats taking place.

This is Obama's post-presidency mission, actually. They need to update their website but they have been pushing the case OP linked in Texas for a while now.

The 171-page decision is here.

This is the 4th time in 2017 a federal court has found that Texas illegally discriminated against minorities.

Pasadena deliberately diluted Hispanic vote, judge rules in voting rights case

A federal judge ruled that Texas’ voter ID was intended to discriminate against blacks and Latinos

A panel of federal judges in San Antonio has ruled that a handful of Texas congressional district...

File under No Fucking Shit. How else do you explain this district

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/TX/35

John's Oliver's segment

Might as well add for those that prefer a laugh to help them digest this.

Good ol' Texas 35, linking two solid Dem-voting urban centers into one district to avoid having two Democratic districts.

Don't look at the Houston map if you've got blood pressure issues.

As a southern Democrat living in rural Texas: Fuck yeah.

Man the Supreme Court fucked us so badly when they gutted the Voting Rights Act. So many states were just waiting to suppress minority votes the moment they could. Glad this is being addressed now through mathematical analysis.

Yes, but in states like Alabama where 90% of white people vote Republican and 99% of black people vote for Democrats, racial gerrymandering is political gerrymandering.

Unfortunately, while courts can (as here) block racial gerrymandering, political gerrymandering is much more difficult to push back against. The Supreme Court has said that most of the time, it's not within the judicial system's purview to deal with gerrymandering when it's done by political affiliation, rather than race. So as long as states can claim that their gerrymandering was to disenfranchise a political party rather than a race (even if it's not necessarily true), there isn't much that can be done about it. A major shift in position by the Supreme Court (or a constitutional amendment, which will of course never happen) it what would be needed to really make headway against gerrymandering.

Have you ever hated minorities so much you drew a snake?

The Supreme Court accepted the argument that racism was a thing of the past. The legislatures of several states immediately proved otherwise.

Whitford v. Gill is the case to watch this year. If successful we'll finally have a declaration that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional and finally have an objective way to prove it to the courts.

This is not just Texas but a serious national problem...

There seems to be a lot of lawsuits coming out against gerrymandering. What is the viability of this to actually have an impact?

Didn't Texas just recently get control of districting back from the Federal Government because they got caught do this exact same thing years ago?

Yes but cases like these will help the whole nation

How dare you suggest the district I live in is gerrymandered this is a very natural shape!

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/TX/2

Yeah it's pretty fucked up when my district is chopped up so much that it reaches over 150 miles away in a thin strip. I have nothing in common as a citizen with most of the people in the far side of my district.

A problem here though, is that the Texas Legislature only meets biennially. So the next session isn't until 2019.

I prefer CGPGrey personally

Great potential for good, though the guilty parties can find other ways to gerrymander. This simply blocks their preferred method of racial discrimination.

Just look at Austin proper in that same map. The city is broken up into like 5 or 6 districts, all of which go way out to include rural areas. It's crazy. Pretty clear attempt to dilute the liberal leanings of Austin.

But that would be a pretty weird defense... "We weren't trying to prevent Blacks and Latinos from voting, we just wanted to prevent Democrats from voting!"

To successfully use that defense, you'd have to first admit that voter suppression was indeed your goal... which would be a political gift from god. The attack ads write themselves.

Second, you'd have to prove that you implemented your Democratic suppression goal in a non-racial manner. Which means white Democrats would have to have their votes suppressed just as much as minorities... Which is very hard to do since white Democrats and white Republicans live side by side. And if you take away their voting rights, they'll complain pretty loudly.

I believe somebody floated that possible defense a decade ago, and it was shot down pretty quickly. I might be misremembering, however.

They were a state subject to pre-clearance for their districts due to having a history of discrimination as part of the Voting Rights Act. The section of the Voting Rights Act that required pre-clearance was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

"Our country has changed in the past 50 years ... Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices ... Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.", John Roberts

There are dozens of us! Dozens!

You guys really like to go back a hundred years to dig up stuff on democrats, while we get to point out stuff Republicans are actively doing right now. Also, the argument "you are just as bad as me" is real dumb.

Be Barack Obama. Be incredibly smart and talented. Get the single most ambitious piece of legislation since the Medicare Act passed. Drag nation out of huge economic decline. Constantly be told that you're not good enough because some inbred hicks in Alabama don't like you.

8 years later, guy who tells everyone you were born in Africa becomes your replacement.

I couldn't imagine how shitty that feels.

If it's proven to disproportionatly affect a race, it can be overturned too, as it was in North Carolina.

Yeah, at least yours is in the same city. The only thing people in East Austin have in common with people in North San Antonio is that they live in the state of Texas. Your's is pretty bad tho

You mean it wasn't an advantage for me to grow up in a rural area then move two hours away to Austin for college and reside in the same district the entire time?

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/TX/21

I haven't seen anyone try to describe Scalia like that, and if they have, they have no business discussing the Supreme Court. I do think that the issue many do have with Scalia and now Gorsuch is that their strict originalism keeps them from crafting opinions that take even small liberties from the original Constitution. There is nothing in the constitution, as far as I know, that mandates that congressional districts be drawn along absolutely fair lines, and Gorsuch may cite that fact to halt anti-gerrymandering efforts. That is the problem.

Get fucked GOP

Xavier Rodriguez was appointed by GW Bush and Orlando Garcia was appointed by Clinton.

That's not even the most fucked up part of our state government Lolololol. Fml.

That's the beauty of the math though. It carves up voters in to the exact groups the partisans want to create, but then the math shows clearly the motives of the partisans using it.

You just need a judge willing to do the math.

Even better, when I would drive to visit my parents, I spent almost half an hour driving through yet another fucked up district before crossing back into my own.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/TX/25

nuclear option in the case of those judges was not based on the judges themselves but rather an unabashed determination of the senate republicans to refuse to consider any Obama judicial nominees. Obama could have nominated the ghost of reagan and he still wouldnt have got a hearing.

porque no los quatro?

Ah good ol' 25, specifically designed so that the brown people and millennialsl living in East Austin are completely diluted by the rural chucklekfucks southwest of Ft. Worth, ensuring the continual reelection of Roger Fucking Williams, goodest of the good-ol-boys. See that tiny little spot at the southern tip that just crosses over I-35? It takes the entire rest of the district to dilute that little spot to below 40%.

They can claim anything they want. The courts ultimately get to decide what their motives were.

I wonder what Merrick Garland would have voted for?

This country should just switch to proportional representation, which makes gerrymandering impossible.

It's not hard at all. The same goddamn software that they use to gerrymander congressional districts can be instructed to draw districts of 711,000 as compactly as possible. Then you have a bi-partisan election commission adopt them.

Jesus, is there a republican draw district that isn't a crock of shit?

Jesus.. really? That seems ridiculously spread out.

The Supreme Court accepted the argument that racism was a thing of the past.

See the thing, even if it was, why does that mean you gut it? Humans, being humans, will always have a tendency towards predudice. So, in the future, there might be racism towards a completely differnet group that we hadn't even thought about. What if in some future whites are a minority and they face racism from majority groups?

Why remove protection against future racism even if racism doesn't exist now? It's staggeringly stupid.

SCOTUS already gutted the Civil Rights Act during Obama's term, which is why the number of polling places in minority areas was drastically reduced and minority turnout was depressed during the 2016 election.

If they can't gerrymander they use voter ID laws or reduce voting locations or hours. Or like in Montana they openly admit it would help democrats then never let laws pass even though they have bi partisan support. Republicans have been some crooked motherfuckers when it comes to suppressing voting.

I live in Austin and this city is cut up like crazy, my district which is very diverse is a small sliver of Austin and goes all the way down to San Antonio, like 60+miles away, it also extends into a very white rural area... one might look at the shape of the district and think "wow that's strange looking" but if you know the areas as I do you will very quickly realize that they are without question trying to water down our votes... i think it's disgusting. Only pussies and cowards win by cheating like that. Seriously just run a good campaign and speak to the people's needs and you'll get elected, gerrymandering had to stop.

That looks like the NC 12th. The joke was if you stopped the car on I-85 and opened the car doors you would be in 3 voting districts.

I took a college course on Texas government (it's complicated enough to warrant it's own course). It's... it's just wow.

I believe it is spelled snek.

What about the 14th Amendment?

If I had to turn over the white house to trump, I'd be in a full on drug spiral probably. If anyone deserves to go party with rich people and fuck his wife in peace, it's that man.

... strict originalism keeps them from crafting opinions that take even small liberties from the original Constitution. ...

AFAICT "originalism" and "constructivism" are basically just a pretense for justifying politically conservative interpretations of the law. As for "the original Constitution" there's an amendment process for a reason. Notably, the 15th Amendment includes...

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

This is not a requirement for 'absolutely fair lines,' but can reasonably be interpreted as a prohibition on racial gerrymandering.

They're only sorry that they keep getting caught it seems

Danger noodle

cuatro*

The constitution was meant to be a prototype that should be constantly updated as time moves us forward. At first only wealthy land owners could vote so such a system wasn't that bad. As time went on that changed but our zeal for the constitution hasn't allowed us to move forward.

Thomas Jefferson famously states the constitution should be rewritten every 20 years but people ignore that and just scream at you about being a real merican.

Same for Arnold Schwarzenegger

Great! That means we can redo those elections and the folks illegally elected will be kicked out of office, right?.....

Oh ya. No punishment and everyone keeps their office. What's the disincentive for doing this again? Even when caught, there's no consequences.

I mean if you're complaint is that the ACA didn't go far enough, and was hampered by conservative ideology, then you're right.

That may change, as there has been indication that many justices are coming around to the notion that political gerrymandering is an infringement of free association rights under the first amendment.

Holy shit. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with this area will be able to tell exactly how this shape was decided upon.

If you're trying to avoid criminal conviction which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, yes, but this has nothing to do with criminal justice. These gerrymandering cases are decided based on the preponderance of the evidence standard. If the judge believes the lawmakers more likely than not drew the districts in a way which discriminates along racial boundaries, then the districts are thrown out.

That's what the case is about; redrawing district lines to dilute minority votes. If you're an american, you should want to uphold the 15th amendment.

https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2017/03/11/texas-35_wide-7ce385bdf2737ae1892cf034f810ea9c4b986356.png

The 35th district as created in 2010, linking the democratic areas of Austin and Dallas.

http://www.politicaljack.com/attachments/ablog-chron-com_txpotomac_files_2011_06_harris_county_and_environs_600x325-jpg.18323/

And lets not even get started on the mess that Houston is.

The 35th district as created in 2010, linking the democratic areas of Austin and Dallas.

http://www.politicaljack.com/attachments/ablog-chron-com_txpotomac_files_2011_06_harris_county_an...

And lets not even get started on the mess that Houston is.

Yeah but I wonder of what use it is.

It took six years to get this far and they will likely appeal to the Supreme Court and kill some more time. Even if the Supreme Court refuses the case or they lose they will likely re-draw districts in some equally terrible way and then make the dems sue them again and drag it through the courts for another six years or more.

Repeat ad nauseum. There is no penalty to the republicans for doing this and in the meantime they are the ones in power. They have every reason to keep doing this and none to stop.

So as long as states can claim that their gerrymandering was to disenfranchise a political party rather than a race (even if it's not necessarily true), there isn't much that can be done about it.

This was addressed in the comment that you replied to. All they have to do is claim that it was for political reasons, even if it also served to gerrymander based on race.

Throwing spaghetti at a map would be an improvement in Texas.

I like that opinion on why they ruled that way - "This is no longer a problem, so therefore we don't need it anymore!"

Problem instantly intensifies after repeal WHO COULDA THUNK IT?

Yep, lived in NC for many years. The one that gets me is the district that goes from Gastonia (70% trump country) 100 miles to Asheville (most liberal city in the country)

https://youtu.be/A-4dIImaodQ?t=8m25s

This is what you're thinking of -

Also Texas is closer to blue than Repubs would like to admit.

lol what... Is this real? How is this not illegal? It never ceases to amaze me how terrible the U.S. democratis system is.

I'm pretty damn tired of this tactic saying "you did it too one time!" This is a child's argument. I don't care about two months ago, this is wrong NOW.

It's bullshit and wrong no matter what - it doesn't make it ok that a national party systemically tries to disenfranchise or limit minority voting TODAY.

You can be opposed to both.

he said rural

I'm sure you would be thrilled if I systematically hindered your access to voting and intentionally diluted your voting impact because you happen to be likely to vote R

Definitely wouldn't be an uproar about it, no sir

Why isn't gerrymandering or any kind of election fraud considered to be a more serious crime? The effect is almost the same as staging a coup, it really seems close to treasonous to me.

Because while democrats are guilty of it it is disproportionately done by and for republicans.

The section of San Antonio it covers includes a high percentage of young/poor Hispanics. Going further west and north into San Antonio and you get mostly military and wealthy families. It includes the most democratic parts along I-35 towards Austin, including Texas State University in San Marcos. The portion it covers in Austin includes most of the hispanics in Austin with some young college students from UT thrown in there.

I agree whole heartedly.

The 10th Amendment reserves to the states powers not granted to the federal government. The Civil Rights Act was passed pursuant to the 14th Amendment, which grants Congress the power to enforce equal protection and due process rights. So I don't really see a strong argument here that the 10th Amendment applies, because the Constitution explicitly grants these enforcement powers to the federal government.

Yup. It's disparate treatment vs. disparate impact, but both are illegal.

It is terrible it has taken so much time and cost so much money to get to this point. Millions of tax dollars wasted by these states defending their horrible policy

I didn't say anything about voter ID. I notice you completely ignored what I actually did mention though. Nice deflection there, you're the next Sean Spicer with that wit.

Both parties are guilty of this. We need to get rid of gerrymandering if we want to have a more representative democracy.

Both parties gerrymander for a hundred years.

It's a problem, but not a huge problem, because the districts are still guesswork and competitive.

Republicans use computer modeling to gerrymander 3/4ths of the country, create a near impenetrable majority in the House for a decade, and actively pursue voter suppression

Yeah, not OK.

Actually, there was a majority that partisan gerrymandering was unconstitutional (Kennedy was, and remains, the swing vote on that) about 10 years ago.

However, Kennedy (as the swing vote) said the courts had no proposed test for partisan gerrymandering that could guide a lower court. ("I know it when I see it" is insufficient). As such, they punted.

Faced with an actual test that can be applied (the case out of Wisconsin has a clever one, and I don't believe it's the only one), and more extreme vote dilution since 2010, Kennedy has a good chance of deciding the other way.

Have you tried redrawing the subreddit's borders?

...yes? That's exactly what this says.

San Antonio to Austin, that's what, 80ish miles?

More like, the GOP has done it more recently. And it's EVERYONES game, and anthemic to democracy.

*Gracias

Or this one https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/TX/33. I'm in 24, and I'm pretty sure I would have a Democrat representative if it were drawn fairly.

Everyone please visit /sub/gerrymandering as we have very few members!

Yeah I grew up here, and still feel that class was harder than us govt.

The whole point of gerrymandering is to systematically disenfranchise certain communities by creating scenarios where their votes count disproportionately less. So, yes.

Too bad your boy Gorsuch sees congressional acts such as the Civil Rights Act as valid laws under the 14th amendment since they fit under the equal protection clause. Since congressional redistricting has the power to unequivocally disenfranchise certain communities, you can make a case for discrimination, especially when youre able to show concrete proof of specifically racial demographic changes that stand out against all other variables pre and post-redistricting.

If the courts tell them to fix it or face fines, i bet they find a solution.

Coupled with the rapidly changing demographics in Texas, the impact could be substantial.

My SO teaches Texas and Federal government at a college here. She hates teaching the Texas courses due to how convoluted we operate as a government here.