The 2003 Texas redistricting refers to a controversial mid-decade state plan that defined new Congressional districts. In the 2004 elections, this redistricting supported the Republicans taking a majority of Texas's House seats for the first time since Reconstruction. Opponents challenged the plan in three suits, combined when the case went to the United States Supreme Court in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006).
Redistricting is the process of drawing electoral district boundaries in the United States. A congressional act passed in 1967 requires that representatives be elected from single-member districts, except when a state has a single representative, in which case one state-wide at-large election be held.
The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.
Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.
On June 28, 2006, the Supreme Court upheld the statewide redistricting as constitutional, with the exception of Texas' 23rd congressional district, which it held was racially gerrymandered in violation of Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, apparently to try to protect a Hispanic Republican representative. A three-judge Federal District Court redrew District 23 and four other nearby districts: 15, 21, 25, and 28. In November 2006, a special election was held in the new districts. All incumbents won except in District 23. There, Republican incumbent Henry Bonilla was forced into a December run-off after a jungle primary; he lost to Democratic challenger Ciro Rodriguez.
Ciro Davis Rodriguez is an American politician and former U.S. Representative for Texas's 23rd congressional district, serving from 2007 until 2011. The district stretches from El Paso in the west to San Antonio in the east, a distance of some 500 miles. He previously represented the neighboring 28th congressional district from 1997 to 2005, and was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1987 to 1997. He currently serves as a justice of the peace for Bexar County. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
After Republicans won control of the Texas state legislature in 2002 for the first time in 130 years, they intended to work toward establishing a majority of House of Representatives seats from Texas held by their party. After the 2002 election, Democrats had a 17–15 edge in House seats representing Texas, although the state's voters voted for Republicans in congressional races by a 55–45 margin.After a protracted partisan struggle, the legislature enacted a new congressional districting map, Plan 1374C, introduced in the Texas House by Representative Phil King of Weatherford. In the 2004 congressional elections, Republicans won 21 seats to the Democrats' 11, which suggested they had considerably surpassed their margin of preference among voters.
The Legislature of the state of Texas is the state legislature of Texas. The legislature is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. The state legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin. It is a powerful arm of the Texas government not only because of its power of the purse to control and direct the activities of state government and the strong constitutional connections between it and the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, but also due to Texas's plural executive.
The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they compose the legislature of the United States.
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.
On June 28, 2006, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion that threw out one of the districts in the plan as a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act because of racial gerrymandering. It ordered the lower court to produce a remedial plan, which it did in Plan 1440C. The Supreme Court ruling was not considered to seriously threaten Republican gains from the 2004 elections.
The Texas Legislature had last enacted a Congressional redistrict plan in 1991, following the 1990 census. At the time, Democrats held both the governor's seat (with Ann Richards) and control of both state legislative branches. By the 2000 census, Republicans had recaptured the state executive branch, having elected Governor George W. Bush and Lt. Governor Rick Perry, as well as control of the Texas Senate. Democrats maintained their majority in the Texas House of Representatives.
Dorothy Ann Willis Richards was an American politician and 45th Governor of Texas (1991–95). A Democrat, she first came to national attention as the Texas State Treasurer, when she delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Richards was the second female governor of Texas and was frequently noted in the media for her outspoken feminism and her one-liners.
George Walker Bush is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He had previously served as the 46th governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.
James Richard Perry is an American politician who is the 14th and current United States Secretary of Energy, serving in the Cabinet of Donald Trump. Prior to his cabinet position, Perry served as the 47th Governor of Texas from December 2000 to January 2015. A Republican, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when Governor George W. Bush resigned to become president. Perry was the longest-serving governor in Texas history.
In 2001, Democrats and Republicans were unable to agree on new district maps to respond to the latest census. The Republican minority recommended the issue be submitted to a panel of judges, per state law. The judges, being "hesitant to undo the work of one political party for the benefit of another",drew a new map which left many of the 1991 districts intact. It yielded a 17 to 15 Democratic majority in Texas's US House delegation after the 2002 elections.
For Texas House and Senate redistricting, the Texas Constitution provides that the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB) convenes when the state legislature is unable to approve, for either body, a redistricting plan in the first legislative session following the National Census. In June 2001, the task of redistricting passed to the LRB after the state legislature failed to pass a redistricting plan for either the House or Senate.The LRB consists of five statewide officials, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House, the Attorney General, the State Comptroller, and the Commissioner of the General Land Office. Four of these five officials were Republican, and the resulting redistricting plans were seen as favorable to Republicans.
In September 2001, then House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (TX-22) organized Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC), a political action committee designed to gather campaign funds for Republican candidates throughout Texas—in particular with an eye to gaining control of the House Speakership, then held by Democrat Pete Laney. TRMPAC was modeled closely after DeLay's Americans for a Republican Majority (ARMPAC), a federal-level organization created to raise funds for Republicans during the 2000 national elections.Simultaneously, as has been well documented in the media, DeLay played a key role in the ongoing Texas redistricting effort.
In 2002, after winning a majority of seats in the State House of Representatives, Republicans gained complete control of the legislature. With the urging of Governor Rick Perry and Tom Delay, who had assumed the position of US House Majority Leader in January 2003, the Republican majority introduced legislation to redraw the court-drawn districts from 2001.
Lacking sufficient votes to stop the new plan, 52 Democratic members fled the state to prevent a quorum in the Texas House, effectively preventing a vote from taking place during the regular session. The 52 Democrats, known as the "Killer Ds", returned to the state when time had expired for the bill. But in the summer of 2003, Governor Rick Perry called a series of special legislative sessions in order to continue the redistricting effort. With control of more than one-third of the seats in the State Senate, the Democrats invoked a two-thirds rule, preventing a vote on the redistricting plan during the first special session. Half an hour after ending the first special session, Governor Perry called a second special session. This time, due to the calendaring of the redistricting bill, the two-thirds rule would not come into play. Eleven of the twelve Democratic state senators left the state to prevent a quorum. The Senators assembled in Albuquerque, New Mexico and were referred to as the Texas Eleven. After a month-long stand off, Senator John Whitmire returned to the State Senate. The redistricting plan was passed in a third special legislative session. After the 2004 elections, Texas' U.S. House delegation had a Republican majority, 21-11, for the first time since Reconstruction. The demographics of the Republican Party in Texas, and across the South, had markedly changed by then, being made up primarily of conservative whites.
An article in the March 6, 2006, issue of The New Yorker magazine, written by Jeffrey Toobin, quoted Texas's junior Republican Senator John Cornyn as saying, "Everybody who knows Tom knows that he's a fighter and a competitor, and he saw an opportunity to help the Republicans stay in power in Washington." Toobin reported that DeLay left Washington and returned to Texas to oversee the project while final voting was underway in the state legislature, and that "several times during the long days of negotiating sessions, DeLay personally shuttled proposed maps among House and Senate offices in Austin."Texas Monthly editor Paul Burka, writing in the magazine's May 2006 issue, characterized the measure as "DeLay's midcensus congressional redistricting plan" and said, "[I]n order to increase his Republican majority in Congress, he [DeLay] resorted to a midcensus redistricting plan."
At the time of the 2003 redistricting, Texas was under the pre-clearance requirements of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The State of Texas obtained pre-clearance from the US Department of Justice for its 2003 Congressional redistricting plan.
But in December 2005, The Washington Post reported, "Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo," uncovered by the newspaper.The document, endorsed by six Justice Department attorneys, said
[T]he redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts ... The State of Texas has not met its burden in showing that the proposed congressional redistricting plan does not have a discriminatory effect.
In addition, according to the Post, Justice Department lawyers "found that Republican lawmakers and state officials who helped craft the proposal were aware it posed a high risk of being ruled discriminatory compared with other options". Texas legislators proceeded with the new plan "because it would maximize the number of Republican federal lawmakers in the state".
The article noted that senior political appointees in the Justice Department had overridden the position and findings by the Civil Rights Division's career civil service staff lawyers and analysts, and approved the redistricting.
Democrats criticized the 2003 redistricting plan, citing the lack of precedent for redistricting twice in a decade (a so-called "mid-decade" redistricting) and argued that it was conducted for purely political gain by the Republican Party. Public comments by some Republicans lent support to this latter claim, since many discussed their expectations of picking up several Republican seats. Some minority groups argued the plan was unconstitutional, as it would dilute their influence and possibly violate the "one-person-one-vote" principle of redistricting. Republicans argued that, since most voters in the state were Republicans, that they be represented by a majority-Republican Congressional delegation in Washington.
The 2004 elections under the new redistricting resulted in Texas Republicans gaining a majority of House seats by a 21–11 margin, nearly a 2/1 ratio in terms of seats (66% of seats). This was significantly larger than the 61/38 voting ratio of Republicans to Democrats in the Presidential race. It was much more lopsided than the total results in the 32 House races, which resulted in 56/40/3 for Republican to Democratic voting (the two main parties did not both run candidates in four districts).
The US Supreme Court issued an opinion on the case in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry on June 28, 2006. While the Court said states are free to redistrict as often as desired, the justices ruled that Texas's 23rd congressional district was invalid, as it violated Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act by racial gerrymandering. This decision required lawmakers to adjust boundaries in line with the Court's ruling.
A three-judge panel, under an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals, oversaw the redistricting. On June 29, 2006, a U.S. District Judge ordered both sides to submit proposed maps by July 14, respond to their opponents' maps by July 21, and be prepared to hold oral arguments on August 3.
The 2003 redistricting targeted ten districts with white Democratic incumbents, avoiding the seven districts with minority Democratic incumbents.
The redistricting appeared intended to protect Henry Bonilla, a Hispanic Republican of TX-23. He had faced a stiff challenge from conservative Democrat Henry Cuellar in 2002. It also neutralized liberal Democrat Ciro Rodriguez. This was done by putting the two Democrats in the same district and forcing them to run against each other for the Democratic nomination (Cuellar won).
In 2006, however, the Supreme Court ruling required redrawing the boundaries for TX-23. It resulted in a special election, in which Bonilla faced six Democratic candidates and an independent in a jungle primary. He was defeated by Democrat Ciro Rodriguez in the run-off.
Gerrymandering is a practice intended to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander ; however, that word is also a verb for the process. The term gerrymandering has negative connotations. Two principal tactics are used in gerrymandering: "cracking" and "packing". A third tactic, shown in the top-left diagram in the graphic to the right, is homogenization of all districts.
Henry Bonilla is a former congressman who represented Texas's 23rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. He was defeated in his bid for re-election by Ciro Davis Rodriguez, a former Democratic member of Congress, in a special election runoff held on December 12, 2006. His term expired January 3, 2007 when the 110th Congress officially began.
For approximately 99 years, from after Reconstruction until the 1990s, the Democratic Party dominated Texas politics.
The Texas Five was a term coined for a group of five Democratic members of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Texas. They were identified in this manner because the Congressional redistricting plan passed by the Texas legislature for the 2004 elections forced these five Democrats out of their previous districts and into ones dominated by Republicans and/or occupied by Republican incumbents. The five Democrats were Martin Frost, Charles Stenholm, Max Sandlin, Nick Lampson, and Chet Edwards. Four Democrats lost their bids for reelection. Only Edwards survived the redistricting, but was eventually defeated by a Republican in 2010. The races were especially notable for their extreme cost. Martin Frost's race against a Republican incumbent, Pete Sessions, was the most expensive U.S. House race in the 2004 elections. The four defeated Democrats had a combined 68 years of experience in the House of Representatives.
Texas's 23rd congressional district stretches across the southwestern portion of Texas. It is a predominantly Hispanic district and its current Representative is Republican Will Hurd.
Texas District 25 of the United States House of Representatives is a Congressional district that stretches from Fort Worth to Austin. The current Representative from District 25 is Roger Williams.
Alabama is currently divided into 7 congressional districts, each represented by a member of the United States House of Representatives. After the 2010 Census, the number of Alabama's seats remained unchanged.
The 2006 midterm elections were held on November 7, 2006. All 32 House seats in the United States Congress from Texas were up for election.
California is the most populous U.S. state and as a result has the most representation in the United States House of Representatives, with 53 Representatives. Each Representative represents one congressional district.
League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, 548 U.S. 399 (2006), is a Supreme Court of the United States case in which the Court ruled that only District 23 of the 2003 Texas redistricting violated the Voting Rights Act. The Court refused to throw out the entire plan, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to state a sufficient claim of partisan gerrymandering.
Virginia is currently divided into 11 congressional districts, each represented by a member of the United States House of Representatives. The number of Virginia's districts remained unchanged following the 2010 Census.
The 2008 elections for the Texas delegation of the United States House of Representatives was held on November 4, 2008. 31 of 32 congressional seats that make up the state's delegation were contested. In Texas's 14th congressional district no one challenged incumbent Ron Paul. Since Representatives are elected for two-year terms, those elected will serve in the 111th United States Congress from January 4, 2009 until January 3, 2011.
Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267 (2004), was a case heard before the United States Supreme Court. The ruling was significant in the area of partisan redistricting and political gerrymandering. The court, in a plurality decision by Justice Antonin Scalia and joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas, with Justice Anthony Kennedy concurring in the judgment, upheld the ruling of the District Court in favor of the appellees that the alleged political gerrymandering was not unconstitutional.
Davis v. Bandemer, 478 U.S. 109 (1986), is a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that claims of partisan gerrymandering were justiciable, but failed to agree on a clear standard for the judicial review of the class of claims of a political nature to which such cases belong. The decision was later limited with respect to many of the elements directly involving issues of redistricting and political gerrymandering, but was somewhat broadened with respect to less significant ancillary procedural issues. Democrats had won 51.9% of the votes, but only 43/100 seats. Democrats sue on basis of one man one vote, however, California democrats supported Indiana GOP plan.
Redistricting in Pennsylvania refers to the decennial process of redrawing state and federal congressional districts in Pennsylvania.
The 2012 United States House of Representatives elections in Texas were held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 to elect the 36 U.S. Representatives from the state of Texas—an increase of four seats in reapportionment following the 2010 United States Census. The elections coincided with the elections of other federal and state offices, including a quadrennial presidential election and an election for the U.S. Senate. The primary election had been scheduled to be held on March 6, 2012, with a runoff election on May 22; because of problems arising from redistricting, the primary was postponed to May 29, and the run-off to July 31.
Gerrymandering in the United States is the practice of setting boundaries of electoral districts to favor specific political interests within legislative bodies. Partisan gerrymandering to increase the power of a political party has been practiced since the beginning of the United States.
Redistricting in California has historically been highly controversial. Critics have accused legislators of attempting to protect themselves from competition by gerrymandering districts. Conflicts between the governor and the legislature during redistricting often have only been resolved by the courts.
Redistricting will occur in the United States in 2022, following the completion of the 2020 United States Census. In all fifty states, various bodies will re-draw state legislative districts. In states with more than one member of the United States House of Representatives, new lines will also be drawn for federal House districts. Political parties prepare for redistricting years in advance, and partisan control of redistricting institutions can provide a party with major advantages. Various laws and court decisions have put constraints on redistricting institutions, but redistricting institutions continue to practice gerrymandering, which involves drawing new districts with the intention of giving a political advantage to specific groups. Aside from the possibility of mid-decade redistricting, the districts drawn in 2022 will remain in effect until the next round of redistricting following the 2030 United States Census.
The For The People Act of 2019 is a bill introduced in the United States House of Representatives to expand voting rights, limit partisan gerrymandering, strengthen ethics rules, and limit the influence of private donor money in politics. It was introduced by John Sarbanes (D-MD) on January 3, 2019 on behalf of the newly elected Democratic majority as the first official legislation of the 116th United States Congress.
GOP 3,833,932; Dems 2,709,749; Others 217, 460