League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry
League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, 548 U. S. 399
Case citation
Case citation is the system used in many countries to identify the decisions in past court cases, either in special series of books called reporters or law reports, or in a 'neutral' form which will identify a decision wherever it was reported...

 (2006), is a Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 case in which the Court ruled that only District 23 of the 2003 Texas redistricting
2003 Texas redistricting
The 2003 Texas redistricting refers to a controversial mid-decade congressional redistricting plan appealed to the United States Supreme Court in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry...

 violated the Voting Rights Act
Voting Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S....

. The Court refused to throw out the entire plan, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to state a sufficient claim of partisan gerrymandering
In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan, incumbent-protected districts...

. The opinion requires lawmakers to adjust Congressional
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 district boundaries in comport with the Court's ruling, though the ruling does not threaten Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 gains as a result of the redistricting in Texas. The Court also declined to resolve a dispute over whether partisan gerrymandering claims present nonjusticiable political questions.

Statewide claims

  • The plaintiff's argument of this being a statewide unconstitutional partisan gerrymander  was rejected 7-2.
  • The plaintiff's argument that states can't redistrict more than once per census
    A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

     under the federal constitution or acts of US congress were both explicitly rejected. States can mid-decade redistrict
    Redistricting is the process of drawing United States electoral district boundaries, often in response to population changes determined by the results of the decennial census. In 36 states, the state legislature has primary responsibility for creating a redistricting plan, in many cases subject to...

     however often they please. The states must redistrict at least once every ten years.

Frost's old district claim

The challenge to Martin Frost
Martin Frost
Jonas Martin Frost III is an American politician, who was the Democratic representative to the U.S. House of Representatives for Texas's 24th congressional district from 1979 to 2005.-Personal life:...

's old district being shattered was also rejected. The majority of the court noted that old district 24 had three separate communities to begin with (Anglos, Blacks, Latino) and Frost (an Anglo Democrat) never having been challenged in 22 years in a primary made it impossible to dispute the state legislative history that it was specifically created for an Anglo Democrat.

Districts 23 & 25

By a 5-4 vote the majority ruled that:
  • Old district 23 was a qualified protected majority-minority
    Majority-minority district
    A majority-minority district is a United States congressional district in which the majority of the constituents in the district are racial or ethnic minorities . Whether a district is majority-minority is usually decided by United States Census data.Majority-minority districts are often the result...

     Latino district (indeed in 2002 on the verge of throwing out the incumbent that wasn't of their choice).
  • Although new district 23 still had an overall Latino majority, only 46% of new district 23's citizen voting-age population was Latino due to 100,000 Latinos being moved to neighboring district 28. Therefore, new district 23 was in no way, shape or form a qualifying majority-minority district.
  • New district 25 wasn't compact enough to be considered a qualifying replacement majority-minority Latino district. The two Latino communities within new district 25 were more than 300 miles apart, raising the appearance that the district was drawn to pick up as many Latinos as possible without regard to compactness.
  • And therefore new District 23 is a section 2 violation of the Voting Rights Act and must be redrawn.
  • There is no need to rule on whether or not new district 25 is itself a racial gerrymander in violation of section 2 because the changes to district 23 will of necessity affect district 25 and it is therefore moot. However, the lower court decision that it was not in violation of section 2 is vacated.
  • The case is remanded for further proceedings.

Dissent on Districts 23 & 25

Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas dissented:
  • Nowhere in the American
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

      Voting Rights Act or legislative history is compactness of districts mentioned and that the majority is causing the jurisprudence of section 2 to diverge more and more from the legislative history.
  • New district 25 is more than an adequate replacement for old 23 (if necessarily), and indeed the majority accepts that new district 25 performed better for Latinos in 2004  than old district 23 from 1992—2002.

Practical result

Ordered by the justices to remedy this situation, a federal panel on August 4 adjusted the lines of the 23rd and four other districts — the 28th (represented by Democrat Henry Cuellar), 25th (Democrat Lloyd Doggett), 15th (Democrat Ruben Hinojosa
Rubén Hinojosa
Rubén E. Hinojosa is the U.S. House of Representative for , serving since 1997. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district stretches from the Rio Grande Valley to historic Goliad County and the Coastal Bend region...

) and 21st (Republican Lamar S. Smith) — all of which held new primary elections on November 7. Cuellar, Doggett, Hinojosa, and Smith were all reelected, while Henry Bonilla, the Republican representative for the 23rd District, was defeated by Democrat Ciro Rodriguez in a newly 61% Latino district.

See all

External links

548 U.S. ___ Full text of the opinion courtesy of Findlaw.com.
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