Texas House Districts Must Be Redrawn, Federal Court Says

Parts of the Texas House map must be redrawn ahead of the 2018 elections because lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities in crafting a handful of districts, federal judges ruled on Thursday. 

A three-judge panel in San Antonio unanimously invalidated some of the state’s 150 state House districts, which will force lawmakers to correct violations. Specifically listed are districts in Bell, Dallas, Nueces and Tarrant counties.

The ruling comes the week after the same court invalidated two Texas congressional districts — CD 27, represented by Republican Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi, and CD 35, represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett of Austin — and ruled that intentional discrimination against voters of color required those districts to be re-drawn.

Attorney General Ken Paxton announced last week that Gov. Greg Abbott won't call a special legislative session to redraw the congressional map. Instead, Paxton is appealing the federal judges' ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to keep the boundaries intact for the 2018 elections.

Meanwhile, the state and the parties that sued over the congressional districts are scheduled to return to court on Sept. 5 to begin redrawing the congressional map.