A three-judge panel in San Antonio handed down a ruling against Texas gerrymandering, claiming the state’s lawmakers illegally redistricted some congressional districts to give Republicans the upper hand, weakening voting rights in the state.
Republicans currently hold two of the three congressional districts that the judges ruled as invalid. The maps were redrawn by Republicans in 2011, the same year the state also passed the country’s strictest voter ID law, a law that was weakened by a previous court ruling.
This new ruling now invalidates the state’s legislators multiple attacks on progressive voters, which is not only a victory for Democrats but a victory for democracy as a whole. The Hill reports that the districts will have to be redrawn, weakening the ironclad hold that the Republican Party holds on those districts – and perhaps forcing Republicans to be held accountable by their constituents for once.
Many other GOP-held states have passed similar redistricting and voter ID laws that have either been struck down or are currently pending hearings. One such state is Wisconsin, where a federal judge found that its voter ID laws likely disenfranchised upwards of 300,000 voters.
Republicans in Texas have used voter ID laws, but especially gerrymandering to weaken Democratic districts, especially those populated by the state’s growing minority population, and help usher in more Republican victories.
If the case heads to the Supreme Court following any confirmation of a President Trump’s appointed judge, the ruling would almost certainly fall in favor of Republicans and would change voting rights in the US forever.
The most anyone can hope for now is that the eight-judge court declines to hear the case.
Dan Arel is a bestselling author of The Secular Activist; and Parenting Without God. He is an award-winning journalist and host of the Danthropology Podcast.