Daily Kos - Texas didn’t discriminate against minority voters. It was only because they were Democrats. And even if it did, the racial discrimination Texas engaged in is nowhere near as bad as the stuff that happened in the 1960s. These are some of the arguments the state of Texas is making in an attempt to stave off federal supervision of its election laws.
In late July, citing the state’s recent history of discrimination, the Justice Department asked a federal court to place the entire state back under “preclearance.” That means the state would have to submit its election law changes in advance to the Justice Department, which would ensure Texas wasn’t disenfranchising voters on the basis of race. This week, Texas submitted a brief arguing that placing the state back under preclearance would be an “extreme” encroachment on state sovereignty and denying that they ever discriminated against minority voters in the state.
The Supreme Court struck down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act in June, the part of the law that determined which states have to go through pre-clearance. Section 3 of the law however, allows states with recent histories of deliberate discrimination on the basis of race to placed under pre-clearance again.
Shortly after the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act decision, Texas moved to reinstate restrictive voting laws that had previously been blocked by the feds. As far as it’s 2011 redistricting plan goes, the state’s brief argues that’s all in the past, and it was a partisan issue rather than a racial one anyway. “The redistricting decisions of which DOJ complains were motivated by partisan rather than racial considerations, and the plaintiffs and DOJ have zero evidence to prove the contrary,” the state writes in its brief. “It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.”