Photo: Jose Garza Argues Before Supreme Court on TX Redistricting
Today, at 1 P.M., the Supreme Court heard Perry v. Perez, a case in which the state of Texas used redistricting gerrymandering techniques to delineate districts that dilutes Latino voting strength, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments. Long-time LULAC attorney Jose Garza argued for all plaintiffs, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the interim maps drawn by the Texas Federal Court.
“In 1965, the federal government created an institutional mechanism, the Voting Rights Act, to prevent further infringement of minority voting rights due to the state’s history of abuses,” stated LULAC President Margaret Moran. “This act has been violated since the maps drawn by the state reduced the opportunity of Latino voters to participate in the political process in Texas. The Voting Rights Act was extended to Texas in 1975 and was retroactive to the 1970 redistricting maps.”
The Texas Legislature used 2010 Census information without consideration of the Latino population growth to create inadequate maps for Congress, State Senate, and State House of Representatives. These maps have been challenged in court. Investigations have found that the state established district lines in such a way that reduce the voting power of the overwhelming presence of Latinos in Texas.
Section Five of the Voting Rights Act requires that legislative-drawn maps be pre-cleared by the Department of Justice before they are put into effect. Because the state’s map has not yet been cleared, it cannot go into effect and be used in the 2012 election. This will delay voting in primary elections in the state of Texas.
For more than twenty years, Jose Garza has represented LULAC in civil rights abuses that affect the Latino community. In this case, he was the attorney for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus of Texas, a case that joined with LULAC to fight the transgressions of the Texas Legislature.
Attorney Paul Clement will represent the defendant in this case. In the past, he has defended Arizona’s unconstitutional law S.B. 1070, as well as, Congress’s prohibition against federal recognition of same-sex marriages.