Redistricting trial begins in federal court

Minorities claim Texas house district maps reflect ethnic discrimination


SAN ANTONIO – A three-judge panel of federal district and appellate judges heard opening arguments on Monday in a trial over the way Texas House of Representative district maps were drawn up by the 2011 state legislature.

"Racial polarization is on the rise," said Gary Bledsoe, an attorney for the Texas NAACP, and due in no small part to how legislative district maps were drawn up three years ago.

He said that the numbers alone validate the position of minority groups and the Department of Justice.

"The state could have drawn up at least 52 opportunity districts for minorities," Bledsoe said. "But the state -- for whatever reason -- chose to draw up only 45 and that harms African Americans and Latinos."

The trial, given the complexities of redistricting laws, is expected to run at least three weeks. The panel's ruling, in all likelihood, is several months away.

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