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Sat Jan 7, 2017, 05:04 PM

Federal judge: Pasadena deliberately worked to reduce voting clout of Latinos

Judge Rosenthal is republican judge and is very conservative. The city of Pasadena Texas gerrymandered the heck out of its districts to exclude Latino voters and this court not only ruled that these actions violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act but also found that these actions were intentional and bailed Pasadena Texas in under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/pasadena/news/article/Federal-judge-Pasadena-deliberately-worked-to-10840995.php

A federal judge in Houston dealt a major blow Friday to the City of Pasadena in a closely watched voting rights case, ruling that officials deliberately diluted the clout of Hispanic voters by revising the system for electing City Council members.

Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ordered Pasadena to revert to its previous use of single-member districts for the upcoming May elections and ruled the city would need pre-clearance from the Department of Justice for any future changes.

"In Pasadena, Texas, Latino voters ... do not have the same right to vote as their Anglo neighbors," Rosenthal concluded in the 113-page decision released late Friday.

Patricia Gonzales, one of the plaintiffs who filed the federal lawsuit, said fairness can be restored to the city election system.
"All right," she said, when informed of the ruling. "Now each section will be able to vote on who they want and their voices will be heard. I'm very pleased with the outcome."

The ruling could provide a key test of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 2013 that gutted portions of the Voting Rights Act, legal experts said.

I have skimmed part of the 113 page opinion and there is material that may help in the Texas voter id case and the Texas redistricting case. http://www.maldef.org/assets/pdf/Patino_V_Pasadena_Memorandum_010617.pdf For example, in the Texas redistricting case, Greg Abbott has argued that it is okay to use gerrymandering for partisan purposes even this results in racial gerrymandering. The court rejected this concept:

Framing the reasons for enacting legislation in terms of enhancing partisanship rather than reducing or diluting minority votes is not persuasive on this record. Partisan goals can be a pretext for invidious intent behind legislation. See Veasey, 830 F.3d at 236, 241 n.30 (majority opinion) and 335–36 (Costa, J., dissenting). When, as here, the party in power stands to gain partisan advantage by diluting Latino votes, pursuing partisan advantage can—and here does—mean intending to dilute Latino votes.

A recent Fourth Circuit case, decided nine days after Veasey, helps make this clear. In North Carolina State Conference of NAACP v. McCrory, 831 F.3d at 204, the appellate court reversed a ruling that the record of how a North Carolina omnibus voting bill was enacted failed to show discriminatory intent. North Carolina argued that the evidence showed only partisanship, not racial animus. The appellate court ruled that using race and party affiliation as proxies for one another established discriminatory intent. “Using race as a proxy for party may be an effective way to win an election. But intentionally targeting a particular race’s access to the franchise because its members vote for a particular party, in a predictable manner, constitutes discriminatory purpose This is so even absent any evidence of race-based hatred and despite the obvious political dynamics.” Id. at 222–23. The same reasoning applies here. Indeed, Pasadena’s Director of Community Relations Richard Scott testified that in Pasadena, referring to “Republican” voters was a proxy for Anglo voters, and referring to “Democrat” or “Democratic” voters was a proxy for Latino. Bench Trial Tr. 4:240–42. Bianca Gracia, the Latina president of a Pasadena homeowners’ association and a Republican activist, also credibly testified that she understood campaign rhetoric about Pasadena “turning blue” as a reference to Latino political power.55

This will be my fun reading for the weekend.

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