The Supreme Court just declined to hear an appeal by Black and Hispanic Texas voters who were accusing the Republican-led legislators of redrawing state Senate districts to intentionally diminish their voting power, according to Reuters. A panel of three judges decided although the new state Senate map may “disproportionately affect minority voters” in Tarrant County, there was no evidence indicating that the legislature’s “true intent was racial.”
This dispute centers on Senate District 10, which includes part of Fort Worth in north-central Texas. Democratic state Senator Beverly Powell currently holds the district but decided not to seek re-election last April because she felt the seat was un-winnable because of how the district’s boundaries were redrawn. Now, the House seat will be represented by Republican Phil King, who ran unopposed.
The plaintiffs argued that the district’s redrawn boundaries intentionally inflicted racial discrimination and that the court set too high a standard when it required the challengers to show that race predominated in the redrawing. They also stated this violated the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Black and Hispanic voters brought a suit against the Texas legislative body in 2021 about new electoral maps. The main argument was that they were being pushed into other districts where white voters would overpower them.
This decision before the Supreme Court is to hear a case that would “prevent state courts from stopping state legislatures’ rules and maps for federal elections.” A decision, in this case, could potentially make gerrymandering challenges by minority voters more difficult and further destroy parts of the Voting Rights Act.