Mexican American Legislative Caucus Chairman Trey Martinez Fischer & Lead Counsel Jose Garza address legal and political implications of Supreme Court hearing
Today, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) Chairman and Texas State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer and MALC Lead Counsel Jose Garza, who argued before the Supreme Court, addressed the legal and political implications of the Texas redistricting case and the current outlook for minority voters.
The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments today after taking steps to temporarily block the use of interim redistricting maps that would have protected the voting rights of minorities in Texas. The interim maps were issued after a lawsuit was filed in response to the redistricting maps approved by Texas Governor Rick Perry and the state legislature thatresulted in zero net seats for minority voters, despite the fact that those voters made up nearly 90% of the state's growth over the last ten years. The three-judge panel in Texas issued maps that were to remain in place until the lawsuit was resolved.
MALC Chairman Trey Martinez Fischer said, "The State of Texas should be acknowledging and protecting the voting rights of the 4.2 million new Texans that contributed to 4 new seats in Congress, not engaging in political gamesmanship in order to dilute their voting power. Today's hearing was a last ditch effort by the state's legislative and executive leadership to circumvent the Voting Rights Act for the sole purpose of growing political power. If the state of Texas is allowed to get away with this shameful gamesmanship then nothing can stop other states from doing the same thing. Where we currently stand, six federal judges--four of whom were appointed by Republicans--have heard all the evidence currently before the Supreme Court and have concluded that the state of Texas' blatantly discriminatory maps cannot be used in the 2012 election cycle."
MALC Lead Counsel Jose Garza said, "The case is clear. Texas does not have pre-cleared maps. In this situation, a federal district court is required to follow certain procedures and criteria to create an interim plan. That is what the San Antonio court did. If the Supreme Court follows its own precedent, we will prevail."
From the House floor to the courtroom, MALC has taken the lead to increase minority opportunity throughout the state. As the nation's oldest and largest Latino legislative caucus in the United States, MALC has been actively engaged in the redistricting and litigation process from its onset.