SAN ANTONIO, Texas (May 2, 2019) – In a remedial hearing today in a Texas redistricting case that began in 2011, a three-judge panel heard a request from the Texas NAACP and other plaintiffs to require the state’s future redistricting plans to first be cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice. The brief, which included arguments asking the court to order preclearance, or “bail-in,” for Texas under Section 3(c) of the Voting Rights Act, was filed November 30, 2018.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) represents the Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches and individual NAACP members in the case. Allison Riggs, SCSJ’s senior voting rights attorney, was one of two attorneys who argued for the preclearance requirement to be imposed.
“We are asking the court to impose a level of review for future redistricting plans given the state’s persistent history of continued intentional discrimination,” said Allison Riggs. “Imposing preclearance is not novel. Section 3 (c) of the Voting Rights Act was drafted for situations just like this. After the Shelby County v. Holder decision, communities need to know that they still have access to other provisions of the Voting Rights Act designed to pre-empt discriminatory behavior and shift the burden from voters discriminated against to those committing the discrimination. If there’s ever a reasonable case for preclearance, this is it.”
Another matter considered at today’s hearing was a proposed remedial map for House District 90, which the U.S. Supreme Court determined last summer to be an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Parties reached an agreement regarding HD 90 on April 25 and filed that with the court. With that matter all but procedurally resolved, more time was allocated to consideration of the preclearance request.
The brief filed on November 30, 2018, on behalf of the Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches and individual NAACP members, among others, can be found at https://www.southerncoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2018-11-30-1603-Plaintiffs-Joint-Request-for-Relief.pdf