Perez v. Texas
Individual voters in Texas, alongside organizations representing African-Americans and Latinos, filed a series of lawsuits in 2011 alleging Texas’ congressional and state house plans violated the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Several of these suits were later amended to include claims regarding replacement maps adopted by the Texas Legislature in 2013.
Between 2000 and 2010, Latinos and African-Americans accounted for nearly 90 percent of Texas’ population growth, which resulted in the state received four additional congressional seats and required significant changes to both the state house and congressional maps. The plaintiffs argue that when the state redrew its congressional and legislative plans, it did not act in good faith to achieve population equity, and instead, intentionally diluted Latino and African-American voting strength. In addition, some of the plaintiffs argue that the state failed in both plans to create all of the majority-minority districts required by Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
As a remedy, the plaintiffs argue that Texas should be required to redraw the maps to create additional electoral opportunities for Latino and African-American voters and that, because the state’s actions were intentional, that Texas should be placed back under preclearance coverage under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. The state asserts the plaintiffs failed to present sufficient facts to demonstrate that minority voters would have suffered “an immediate or threatened injury as a result of the challenged [districts].”
While the challenged maps were pending preclearance, in 2012, the district court ordered interim maps for the congressional and state house districts. Texas subsequently adopted the interim maps on a permanent basis in 2013 – but some of the plaintiffs contend that those maps still have a discriminatory effect against minority voters.
On March 10, 2017, the panel issued a ruling on challenges to the 2011 congressional map. The court’s 2-1 decision held that four districts in the plan (TX-23, TX-26, TX-27, and TX-35) were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders and that the creation of TX-35 could not be justified by a need to comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The panel also ruled that Texas had unconstitutionally and intentionally packed and cracked minority voters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in the creating the configuration of TX-23 in the 2011 congressional plan. However, the court rejected intentional vote dilution claims related to the greater Houston area.
The panel has yet to rule on claims related to the 2011 state house map or on claims related to the maps currently being used by Texas. The court also has not yet ruled on requests that Texas be placed under preclearance coverage through Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act.
Key Court Documents
- Plaintiffs’ Original Complaint (May 9, 2011)
- Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint (May 31, 2011)
- Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint (June 7, 2011)
- Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint (June 14, 2011)
- Plaintiffs’ Response to Motion to Dismiss (June 24, 2011)
- Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint (July 1, 2011)
- Plaintiffs’ Response to Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint (July 11, 2011)
- Non-U.S. Plaintiffs’ Joint Motion for Entry of Judgment (December 30, 2016)
- Amended Non-U.S. Plaintiffs’ Joint Motion for Entry of Judgement (January 2, 2017)
- Text Order Denying Motion for Summary Judgement (January 5, 2017)
- Memorandum Order and Opinion (March 10, 2017)
- Findings of Fact (March 10, 2017)
- Emergency Application for Stay of Interlocutory Order Pending Appeal to the US Supreme Court for the Congressional Redistricting Plan (November 28, 2011)
- Emergency Application for Stay of Interlocutory Order Pending Appeal to the US Supreme Court for the Texas House Redistricting Plan(November 28, 2011)
- Order Granting Stay (December 9, 2011)
- Appellant Texas’ Brief (December 21, 2011)
- Appellee Brief of NAACP and Congresspersons (December 21, 2011)
- Appellee Brief of Davis, LULAC, et al. (December 21, 2011)
- Appellee Brief of TLRTF, et al. (December 21, 2011)
- Reply Brief of Appellants (January 3, 2012)
- Reply Brief of Appellee NAACP and Congresspersons (January 3, 2012)
- Joint Reply Brief of Appellees as to Interim Congressional Plans (January 03, 2012)
- Reply Brief for Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force, MALC, and Perez (January 3, 2012)
- Per Curiam Opinion Remanding the Case to District Court (January 20, 2012)