June 25, 2018

Feinstein Statement on Supreme Court Decision on Racial Gerrymandering

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in a Texas gerrymandering and voting rights case:

“The Supreme Court’s conservative majority today dealt another significant blow to the Voting Rights Act, ignoring significant evidence that Texas intentionally drew congressional and legislative districts to discriminate against Hispanic voters.

“In a 5-4 decision, the court upheld most of Texas’s congressional and state legislative maps against claims that certain districts deprived minority residents of the ‘equal opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice.’ Although the court held that one legislative district constituted an illegal racial gerrymander, it found that other districts didn’t run afoul of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race.

“The bottom line is that this opinion says that even if a state is found to be diluting the power of minority voters, the discriminatory redistricting may stand.

“A concurring opinion written by Justice Thomas, joined only by Justice Gorsuch, would have held that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act can never be used to invalidate a district that has been gerrymandered to dilute the power of minority voters.

“This opinion is deeply troubling, and constitutes another assault on the voting rights of minorities. It’s even more troubling that two justices would gut the Voting Rights Act even further.

“In the face of a Supreme Court majority that has chipped away at the right to vote for years, fighting efforts to stack our courts and ensuring judicial nominees are mainstream could not be more important.”

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