Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Monday the Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing the state of Texas over its new congressional districts.
Garland announced the lawsuit at a press conference, alleging that Texas officials are violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by lumping too many black and Latino voters into too few districts to dilute their votes. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said the new redistricting plan will diminish increased minority voting strength caused by recent population shifts.
It’s a vote dilution lawsuit arguing that new maps disenfranchise Black and Latino voters. The DOJ is already suing Texas over certain provisions of its new voting law, Senate Bill 1, Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act and Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act
— Grace Panetta (@grace_panetta) December 6, 2021
“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 continued. “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.”
Texas added two new congressional districts this cycle thanks to population growth measured in the 2020 census. Critics accuse Texas lawmakers of drawing two new majority-white districts, even though its population growth was driven by non-white groups, while Texas officials have defended the maps as properly accounting for minority residents. (RELATED: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Run For Governor Of Texas)
The DOJ has also filed a a lawsuit over Texas’ new election law, Senate Bill 1. Garland also highlighted recent actions taken by the DOJ in Arizona and Florida on the issue of voting rights.