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DOJ sues Texas for diluting Black and Latino votes with new district maps

Attorney General Merrick Garland accused the state of violating the Voting Rights Act in Texas Republicans' latest assault on democracy.

The Justice Department sued Texas on Monday over voting district maps it says “deny or abridge the rights of Latino and Black voters to vote."

In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Texas' redistricting plans violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits “vote dilution.”

“Vote dilution occurs when an electoral practice minimizes or cancels out the voting strength of members of a racial group or language minority group,” Garland said. 

It’s a crowded field with plenty of worthy competition, but Texas is most likely leading the pack of GOP-led states experiencing the most vigorous conservative attacks on civil rights.

Texas is suffering one of the most relentless attacks on civil rights in recent memory.

Multiple lawsuits have already been filed in federal and state courts alleging that Texas’ maps as drawn would have a racist impact on the voting power of nonwhite voters. Last month, the state House’s Mexican American Legislative Caucus sued challenging the constitutionality of the maps.

The lawsuit the Justice Department filed Monday is one of many it has filed alleging legal misconduct in Texas. It sued Texas on Nov. 4 over a new restrictive voting law, known as S.B. 1, which institutes a slew of measures to curb ballot access. And in September, the Justice Department sued the state over S.B. 8, which bars abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy in nearly all cases and allows anyone to sue abortion providers who defy the new rules for up to $10,000. 

In part to stave off a primary challenge, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has introduced several restrictive measures targeting women, transgender people and voters who tend to swing Democratic. Under his and the conservative Legislature’s thumbs, the state is suffering one of the most relentless attacks on civil rights in recent memory. 

The Justice Department’s latest lawsuit could bring meaningful change for many residents, but it’s only one in a series of steps that will need to be taken to wrest the state from anti-democratic GOP control. 

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