Several Texas Democratic Party and Civil Rights groups are asking a federal court in Washington to reinstate Justice Department oversight of Texas election procedures, less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked oversight under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the NAACP, the Texas Legislature Black Caucus, and State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) say the court has jurisdiction to reinstate what is called the 'preclearance requirement' under Section 3(c) of U.S. Public Law 42 U.S.C., which was passed in 1973, which allows the Justice Department to send in observers to jurisdictions where it is necessary to 'prevent commencement of new devices to deny or abridge the right to vote.'
This is a different law, and one that was not struck down by the Supreme Court.
"This remedy is necessary to protect minority voters in the state from the pattern of discriminatory actions persistently taken by the State in an attempt to disenfranchise and diminish the voting strength of voters of color," the lawsuit claims.
The groups say the State of Texas is 'undoubtedly the prime example of why at least some pre enforcement review under the Voting Rights Act is still necessary to vindicate the voting rights of minority citizens,' saying Texas has engaged in 'persistent and intentional efforts to diminish the voting strength of voters of color and to exclude them from the political process.'
The lawsuit cites the Republican redrawing of the state Congressional and Legislative boundaries following the 2010 Census.
The Supreme Court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was 'outdated,' but the lawsuit claims the 1973 law is 'not based on any predetermined formula and is justified by current needs.'
"Section 3(c) requires that upon finding that a jurisdiction has committed constitutional violations, a court shall, in addition to any equitable remedy imposed, retain jurisdiction for a time it deems appropriate and require that the jurisdiction obtain preclearance from the court or the Attorney General for any changes to designated voting practices or procedures."
The lawsuit says federal courts in San Antonio and in Washington DC have already determined that Texas committed 'intentional discrimination,' and say the 'level of detail in the evidence in the record make implausible any argument that a preclearance remedy is not justified in the instant case.'
"The parties have provided more evidence of discriminatory intent than we have space, or need, to address," one court ruled.