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March 14, 2017

Federal courts rules Texas gerrymandering unconstitutional

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  • On Friday, a panel of federal judges ruled two to one that Texas’s Republican-led legislature gerrymandered some of the state’s congressional districts in order to inhibit the growing Democratic influence of Hispanic voters.
  • The action taken by map-drawers was ruled unconstitutional or in violation of the Voting Rights Act, according to the Court.
  • Gerrymandering is a practice dating back to the 19th century of drawing congressional district lines to benefit one political party over another.
  • The state of Texas will likely decide to appeal the decision. Redistricting cases are special in that any time they are appealed, they appear directly in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Class discussion questions 
  1. Essential question: How does the practice of gerrymandering hurt democracy?
  2. Why would political parties want to engage in gerrymandering?
  3. Where are your district’s boundaries? Do you live in a district that has been gerrymandered?
  4. Can you think of other political practices in our society that don’t seem very democratic?
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Gerrymandering and partisan politics in the U.S.

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