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Lone Star Project Report

Is the Voting Rights Act Worth Saving?

What is at stake?

The Voting Rights Act itself hangs in the balance on the Texas redistricting decision. Plaintiffs opposing Texas Republicans must have the legal resources to make the strongest argument possible before the Supreme Court and before Courts with jurisdiction to save the Voting Rights Act.

45 years ago, displaying the courage of a true Texan, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the historic Voting Rights Act into law. His actions signaled the end of a generation of government sanctioned discrimination and ensured that minority citizens would have legal protection to register, vote, and an opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice. Today, however, two Republican Texans – Rick Perry and Gregg Abbott – are working to turn back the clock. They want to destroy the Voting Rights Act and return to a day when governments sanctioned racial discrimination.

That’s the real issue at stake in the Texas redistricting battle. When Greg Abbott asked the Supreme Court to block the use of the court-ordered redistricting plans in Texas, he was stepping up as the leader of the darkest most divisive forces in our society who want to erase the US Voting Rights Act.

If allowed, Greg Abbott, Rick Perry and the current Texas leadership will tear down every barrier in place that might stop them from destroying the voting strength of Latino and African American citizens, not just in Texas, but everywhere across our nation.

What did the Supreme Court do?

At the request of Greg Abbott, acting on behalf of Rick Perry and the Texas leadership, the Supreme Court issued an order temporarily blocking the use of the legislative and congressional plans ordered by a Federal District Court in San Antonio for the 2012 elections. However, the Supreme Court did not order that the discriminatory plans passed by the Republican Legislature be used. Instead, the Court will hear arguments from both the Republicans and plaintiff groups opposing them to determine what criteria lower Courts should use when determining the boundaries of the not yet pre-cleared redistricting plans. (Source: Texas Redistricting)

What will Abbott and his allies argue?

Texas Republicans and their extremist national allies will argue for the virtual elimination of Section 5 of the US Voting Rights Act. They will claim that maps passed by state legislatures – even those like Texas that have a long history of racial discrimination – should be implemented even if they have not yet been reviewed to ensure they do not discriminate against minority voters. (Sources: State of Texas' Stay Request to the Supreme Court, SOT's Reply Brief, Robert Miller's SCOTUS Blog)

What will Plaintiffs supported by the Lone Star Project argue?

Lone Star Project-supported plaintiffs and our allies will argue for the preservation of the standard of law that has stood for a generation. Simply stated, any redistricting plan passed by a state covered under the Voting Rights Act must be pre-cleared to ensure against racial discrimination. If a State like Texas intentionally delays pre-clearance or seeks to avoid it altogether, a Federal District Court must step in to draw new lines and, in doing so, use the existing lines as the baseline and not the likely discriminatory lines approved by the State. (Reponses to Stay Request: MALC, Texas NAACP, LULAC, and Perez (Dutton) plaintiffs, Wendy Davis/LULAC state senate response)

What will you do?

Greg Abbott is already using your money to kill the Voting Rights Act. He is spending taxpayer funds on an outside legal counsel charging over $500 dollars an hour to convince the US Supreme Court to overturn the Voting Rights Act. This is the very same attorney who will argue against President Obama’s healthcare reform plan before the Supreme Court next year.

We have retained some of the best legal counsel in the country to fight back and make our arguments before the high court.

We are committed to fighting to save the Voting Rights Act.

Will you help save it?

Donate to the LSP - Fair TexasFor the last six months, every dollar raised online by the Lone Star Project has been used to support the legal, administrative and technical costs of plaintiffs opposing Texas Republicans and fighting for a fair and legal redistricting plan.

Please give $25, $50, $100 or any amount you can afford to stop the attack on the Voting Rights Act and protect fair districts for Texas.