League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry

League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry

League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry
Argued March 1, 2006
Decided June 28, 2006
Full case name League of United Latin American Citizens, et. a.l v. Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, et. all
Docket nos. 05-204
Citations 548 U.S. 399 (more)
2006 U.S. LEXIS ___
Texas's redrawing of District 23’s lines amounts to vote dilution violative of §2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, while other newly created districts remain constitutional.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Kennedy (in part), joined by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer (Parts II-A & III); Roberts, Alito (Parts I & IV); Souter, Ginsburg (Part II-D)
Concur/dissent Roberts, joined by Alito
Concur/dissent Stevens, joined by Breyer (Parts I, II)
Concur/dissent Scalia, joined by Thomas; Roberts, Alito (Part III)
Concur/dissent Souter, joined by Ginsburg
Concur/dissent Breyer
Laws applied
Voting Rights Act of 1965, U.S. Constitution Amendment XV

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. The opinion requires lawmakers to adjust Congressional district boundaries in comport with the Court's ruling, though the ruling does not threaten Republican gains as a result of the redistricting in Texas.[1] The Court also declined to resolve a dispute over whether partisan gerrymandering claims present nonjusticiable political questions.

Statewide claims

  • The plaintiff's argument of this being a statewide unconstitutional partisan gerrymander was rejected 7-2.
  • The plaintiff's argument that states can redistrict only once per census under the federal constitution or acts of Congress was explicitly rejected. States can redistrict as often they please as long as they do it at least once every ten years.

Frost's old district claim

The challenge to Martin Frost's old district being shattered was also rejected. The majority of the court noted that old district 24 had three separate communities to begin with (Whites, Blacks, Latino) and Frost (a White Democrat) never having been challenged in 22 years in a primary made it impossible to dispute the state legislative history that it was specifically created for a White Democrat.

Districts 23 & 25

By a 5-4 vote the majority ruled that:

  • Old district 23 was a qualified protected majority-minority Latino district (indeed in 2002 on the verge of throwing out the incumbent that wasn't of their choice).
  • Although new district 23 still had an overall Latino majority, only 46% of new district 23's citizen voting-age population was Latino due to 100,000 Latinos being moved to neighboring district 28. Therefore, new district 23 was in no way, shape or form a qualifying majority-minority district.
  • New district 25 wasn't compact enough to be considered a qualifying replacement majority-minority Latino district. The two Latino communities within new district 25 were more than 300 miles apart, raising the appearance that the district was drawn to pick up as many Latinos as possible without regard to compactness.
  • And therefore new District 23 is a section 2 violation of the Voting Rights Act and must be redrawn.
  • There is no need to rule on whether or not new district 25 is itself a racial gerrymander in violation of section 2 because the changes to district 23 will of necessity affect district 25 and it is therefore moot. However, the lower court decision that it was not in violation of section 2 is vacated.
  • The case is remanded for further proceedings.

Dissent on Districts 23 & 25

Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas dissented:

  • Nowhere in the American Voting Rights Act or legislative history is compactness of districts mentioned and that the majority is causing the jurisprudence of section 2 to diverge more and more from the legislative history.
  • New district 25 is more than an adequate replacement for old 23 (if necessarily), and indeed the majority accepts that new district 25 performed better for Latinos in 2004 than old district 23 from 1992—2002.

Practical result

Ordered by the justices to remedy this situation, a federal panel on August 4 adjusted the lines of the 23rd and four other districts — the 28th (represented by Democrat Henry Cuellar), 25th (Democrat Lloyd Doggett), 15th (Democrat Ruben Hinojosa) and 21st (Republican Lamar S. Smith) — all of which held new primary elections on November 7. Cuellar, Doggett, Hinojosa, and Smith were all reelected, while Henry Bonilla, the Republican representative for the 23rd District, was defeated by Democrat Ciro Rodriguez in a newly 61% Latino district.

See also


  1. ^ The Associated Press (2006-06-28). "Justices Back Most G.O.P. Changes to Texas Districts". New York Times. Retrieved 2006- 

External links

  • ^ 548 U.S. 399 Full text of the opinion courtesy of Findlaw.com.
  • State of Texas - Texas Redistricting
  • JURIST - Paper Chase: Supreme Court leaves Texas redistricting map largely intact