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Lawsuit Challenges Texas Redistricting

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From LatinaLista, where this story was first published.

Over the last couple of weeks, the U.S. Census began releasing 2010 Census data as it begins the arduous task of compiling population statistics for each state in the country.

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Even before the numbers were released for some states, the Census bureau issued preliminary data about current state populations.

What was discovered was that Texas was a big winner when it comes to population increases, which translates into more seats in Congress.

According to the US Census, Texas, and many other states that saw an increase in their population, owe it to an increase in the Latino population. Because the Census doesn’t allow for anyone to be asked their citizenship, there’s no telling how much of the state population increases can be attributed to the undocumented population and how much to the growing families of Latino citizens.

Yet, it was clear from the beginning, when US Census officials started crediting Latinos for state population increases, that some people would not be happy with the growth of the Latino population.

The natural assumption is that those who are unhappy would be the states that either lost seats in Congress or remain stagnant. But no, the first known lawsuit challenging new congressional redistricting based on the 2010 Census, are three people from Texas — the state that gained the most seats.

The plaintiffs, Kaaren Teuber, Jim K. Burg and Ricky L. Grunden, are suing the State of Texas for counting undocumented immigrants. Their reason is that there is an unfair and illegal effect on voters in districts with smaller numbers of non-citizens.

According to their lawsuit:

…Plaintiffs’ districts, the Fourth and Twenty-Sixth Congressional Districts, each has a smaller population of undocumented immigrants than the Twenty-Third District. As a result, the strength of Plaintiffs’ votes in the Fourth and Twenty-Sixth Districts might be diluted when compared with the citizens’ votes in the Twenty-Third District. This violates Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution…”

That’s an interesting theory but no more true than during a time when blacks were counted in the US Census, and boosted population levels of certain political districts, but prevented from exercising their right to vote. So, it’s a nice try but one gets the feeling there’s a definite ulterior motive here.

We don’t have to wait long to hear it:

Further, the inclusion of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Census might have the purpose and effect of strengthening the Hispanic vote, and if so this practice could violate the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and Article I, Sections 3, 3a, 19, and 29 of the Texas Constitution.

And that’s the crux of the complaint from these three, who are rumored to be Tea Party activists. It’s strange how they don’t seem to understand that undocumented residents can’t vote. Or maybe they’re looking ahead to the day when immigration reform is passed and these current undocumented resident become tomorrow’s voters.

The three don’t want the Texas legislature to even begin redistricting until the state of Texas complies with their demands, which include:

Convene a three-judge court to oversee their complaint Declare that the use of inaccurate census data for purposes of reapportionment and redistricting in the State of Texas denies Plaintiffs their rights as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and federal law;

Grant preliminary and permanent injunctive relief restraining and enjoining the State Defendants from using the inaccurate 2010 census population counts for reapportionment of Texas Congressional, State Senate, State House, and State School Board Districts;

Order into effect an adjustment of the 2010 census population by Federal Defendants or State Defendants to be used in the reapportionment of Texas Congressional, State Senate, State House, and State Board of Education Districts;

Declare the current Texas Congressional, State Senate, State House, and State School Board Districts to be unconstitutional and of no further force and effect.

All of this because they don’t want the Hispanic vote strengthened?

It doesn’t get any more racist than this.