2003 Texas redistricting

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After the 2002 elections, the Texas House of Representatives came under Republican control, the Republicans had the governorship and Texas Senate prior to 2002. Although, the Texas congressional districts had been redrawn according the the 2000 U.S. census by the 2002 elections, the Republican legislature redrew the congressional district map in 2003. The redistricting helped Republicans win 21 of Texas' 32 seats in Congress in 2004, up from 15, a net gain of 6 congressional seats.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the Republican-controlled Legislature acted purely for partisan gain in 2003 when it threw out district boundaries that had been used in the 2002 elections, and whether the new map violated a federal voting rights law. On February 17, 2006, it granted the Bush administration's request to join Texas in defending a Republican-friendly congressional map engineered by Rep. Tom DeLay. Oral arguments were heard March 1, 2006. The major issue was if the 2003 redistricting violated the Voting Rights Act. In League of United Latin American Citizens et al. v. Perry, Governor of Texas, et al. (LULAC v. Perry), the Supreme Court decided 7-2 that off-year redistricting is constitutional; however, certain provisions of the 2003 plan violated the Voting Rights Act, and were sent to a lower court for review. A deeper, even more fundamental issue was that of gerrymandering: while noting the practice was involved in the case, the Court avoided ruling on its constitutionality. The Voting Rights Act violations have been fixed by re-drawing the 23rd District, and four of its neighbors (TX Redistricting Decided: Pickup in 23?), which will involve an open primary on November 7, 2006, followed by a run-off if necessary.

DeLay, R-Texas, has been indicted on money laundering charges stemming from his efforts to aid Republicans in state legislative elections that year. DeLay stepped down as U.S. House majority leader because of the charges but denies any wrongdoing. [1]

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