CASE SUMMARY

On March 24, 2022 the U.S. Department of Justice filed a federal lawsuit against Galveston County, Texas, the Galveston County Commissioners Court, and the Commissioner Court's presiding officer challenging the County's adopted County Commissioners Court redistricting plan as violating the federal Voting Rights Act. Specifically, the DOJ alleges the plan violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because it was adopted, at least in part, with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black and Hispanic voters to vote on account of their race or color and further results in the dilution of Black and Hispanic voters' voting strength, citing the elimination of the only district in which minority voters had an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. They are seeking a judicial declaration that the 2021 County Commissioners Court plan violates Section 2 of the VRA as having both a discriminatory purpose and result, an injunction barring the defendants from using the plan in future elections, and a court order requiring the defendants to adopt a new plan which complies with the VRA.

On June 1, 2022, the district court consolidated this case with two other federal challenges to Galveston County's Commissioners Court redistricting plan.

Following an extensive bench trial the district court judge found that Galveston County's 2021 redistricting violated the Voting Rights Act, enjoined the use of the map in future elections, and ordered a remedial plan. The county appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court judge's findings, but also called for en banc review of the case in order to reevaluate the Fifth Circuit's precedents regarding coalition districts. The Fifth Circuit granted en banc review, vacated the three judge panel's affirmance, and stayed further remedial proceedings in Galveston County. Oral arguments are set for May before the en banc Fifth Circuit.

CASE LIBRARY

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division - No. 3:22-cv-93 [together with Nos. 3:13-cv-308; 3:22-cv-117]

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit - No. 23-40582

Supreme Court of the United States - No. 23A449

Supreme Court of the United States - No. 23A521