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Commentary from LULAC: Latino voters vindicated in Lulac v. Perry Texas Redistricting Case

The June 28th decision by the US Supreme Court in the LULAC vs Perry Texas Redistricting Case has vindicated our position that the plan drawn up by the Texas legislature eroded minority voting strength in Texas and is therefore illegal and unconstitutional. We demand immediate relief based upon the Supreme Court’s findings and we call upon the lower court to adopt a plan that is fair for all Texans not just those favored by former Congressman Tom De Lay.

Every ten years the Hispanic community of Texas has had to go to the courts for relief as a result of unconstitutional redistricting that eroded minority voting strength. Last year, we were compelled to once again go to court and once again we have been vindicated by the U.S. Supreme Court in the LULAC vs. Perry decision that was released this morning.

LULAC expects immediate relief for the constitutional violations well before the November 2006 elections. We are prepared to go to court as early as next week to present our plan so that the district court can begin the process of considering the various plans.

We have and continue to assert that the Congressional District lines in existence prior to the redistricting are the appropriate lines to be considered by the court. Anything less than that will be unacceptable. The old lines are the only sure way of ensuring that every citizen’s vote will be given its true equal weight.

From the beginning the prime focus of our case focused on district 23 because of the fracturing of a cohesive Latino population in Laredo, Webb County, Texas (over 90% Latino) where the state's redistricting plan split the City in half placing half in Congressional District 23 and the other half in district 25th and the 28th. The plan also moved an equal amount of the conservative population from the Texas hill country into district 23 thereby reducing the Latino voting strength from substantially over 50% citizen voting age population to less than 50% citizen voting age population.

The case will be remanded back to the District Court and they will need to provide a plan that is constitutional. In relief we want the 23 district to go back to original lines as it was before redistricting. Obviously this will create a ripple effect throughout the surrounding districts.

Our victory in this case underscores the continued need for the prompt reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. The foundation of our Democracy is based upon the right of all citizens to equal participation in the voting process.

The League of the United Latin American Citizen (www.lulac.org) advances the economic conditions, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide.

 

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