Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Monday that the Justice Department is filing suit against the state of Texas over its congressional redistricting map in a move critics say smacks of political bias.
Garland made his announcement at a press conference in which he alleged that Texas officials have violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because they have grouped too many black and Latino voters into too few districts in order to dilute their votes.
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, meanwhile, alleged that the new redistricting map aims to diminish the impact of minority votes due to recent population shifts, the Daily Caller reported.
“Today the Department of Justice has filed suit against the state of Texas for violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” Garland said. “As the Supreme Court has observed, a core principal of our democracy is that ‘voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.’”
“Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act requires that state voting laws, including laws that draw electoral maps, provide eligible voters with an equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process and elect representatives of their choosing,” he noted further.
“The complaint we filed today alleges that Texas has violated Section 2 by creating redistricting plans that deny or abridge the rights of Latino and black voters to vote on account of their race, color, or membership in a language minority group,” Garland said.
“This is not the first time Texas has acted to minimize the voting rights of its minority citizens,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta added. “Decade after decade, courts have found that Texas has enacted redistricting plans that deliberately dilute the voting strength of Latino and Black voters and that violate the Voting Rights Act.”
Due to substantial growth in population, Texas added a pair of congressional districts following the 2020 Census. Critics say that Texas Republicans in charge of redistricting ensured that the state’s new districts were majority-white enclaves despite the population growth being mostly driven by non-whites.
The Wall Street Journal said Texas added more new residents over the past decade — since the last Census in 2010 — than any other state, but other minority groups accounted for 95 percent of that growth.
“White Texans now make up less than 40% of the state’s population, down 5 percentage points, and are roughly equal in number to Latino Texans,” the paper reported.
Texas officials, meanwhile, have defended the maps as properly taking into account minority residents.
“The Department of Justice’s absurd lawsuit against our state is the Biden administration’s latest ploy to control Texas voters,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said on Twitter. “I am confident that our legislature’s redistricting decisions will be proven lawful, and this preposterous attempt to sway democracy will fail.”
The Department of Justice's absurd lawsuit against our state is the Biden Administration's latest ploy to control Texas voters. I am confident that our legislature's redistricting decisions will be proven lawful, and this preposterous attempt to sway democracy will fail.
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) December 6, 2021
Garland has also filed suit against Texas’ new election integrity law, Senate Bill 1. He also noted legal actions regarding voting rights in a pair of other GOP-led states, Arizona and Florida.
Republicans were quick to pounce on what they see as an overt political bias driving DOJ and its case against Texas.
“If @TheJusticeDept cared about gerrymandering, they would sue Illinois. Merrick Garland’s only concern is electing more Democrats. He should resign in disgrace,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark) tweeted.
If @TheJusticeDept cared about gerrymandering, they would sue Illinois.
Merrick Garland's only concern is electing more Democrats.
He should resign in disgrace. pic.twitter.com/p3E131Xry6
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) December 6, 2021
“The Department of Justice is now the Gestapo of @TheDemocrats,” former U.S. intelligence official Tony Shaffer added.
— Tony Shaffer (@T_S_P_O_O_K_Y) December 6, 2021
With all the crime going on Merrick Garland concentrates on Texas and voting rights!
You can’t make this shit up!
Justice Department has filed suit against the State of Texas for violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act
JOE BIDEN’S POLITICIZED JUSTICE DEPARTMENT😡 pic.twitter.com/CbthvPCPd2
— Joni Job (@jj_talking) December 7, 2021
— Fadde (@fadde) December 7, 2021
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