HOUSTON — Texas is back in the national spotlight after Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Biden administration is suing Texas again, this time for violating the Voting Rights Act.
The Department of Justice lawsuit is pretty straightforward. It claims Hispanic and Black populations are exploding, all while their political power is shrinking. The DOJ says it's illegal discrimination.
It's the latest in a string of suits over the redistricting maps just redrawn by the GOP.
"You can't take a process that affects so many Texans, rush it through your process without any real input and then basically say it represents Texas. No, it doesn't," said Baldomera Garza with LULAC in Houston.
LULAC's local chapter in Houston is applauding the DOJ for stepping in to try to stop the GOP.
"They continue to manipulate these maps," Garza said.
Census data shows from 2010 to 2020, Texas' population boomed by nearly 4 million people, 95% of that growth was fueled by minorities.
The DOJ says the Republican-drawn maps dilute what should have been increased minority voting strength.
"Despite the significant increase in the number and proportion of Latino and Black voters in Texas the newly enacted redistricting plans will not allow minority voters an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice," Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said.
The Texas Attorney General's Office calls it "an absurd lawsuit." And a spokesman for Gov. Greg Abbott told KHOU 11 News, in part:
"It’s no surprise that Democrats in Washington are attacking our state’s redistricting plans. We are confident that Texas’ redistricting plans will be upheld by the courts."
KHOU political analyst Bob Stein doesn't see the lawsuit succeeding.
"You need a consecutive set of elections in which you can show that there's evidence of racial polarization and racial redistricting so you can make a case for intent," Stein said.
It's another case that could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. Whatever the legal result is, demographic experts, like Dr. Stephen Klineberg, say what's happening in Texas, no politician can control.
"The redistricting and controls slow down the process, but the transformations are unstoppable, I think," Klineberg said. "There's nothing in the world that will stop Houston, Texas and America from becoming more African American, more Latino, Asian and less Anglo."