With city council candidates facing a February 17 filing deadline, the Fifth Circuit scheduled an expedited hearing in Pasadena, Texas’ redistricting case for February 1.
The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consider whether to temporarily halt the order from the Houston judge, which would enable the system of six single member districts, and two at large seats put in place in 2014 to remain.
If a judge issues a ruling in the city’s favor, it will impact city council elections that will be held in May, and reverse a decision earlier this month ordering the city to use the 2011 eight member single district model for the coming elections.
Earlier this month, a district judge ruled that the city’s two at-large voting districts violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
Another lawsuit filed under Section 2 of the not-“gutted” Voting Rights Act:
The Eastpointe City Council met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss how to respond to a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit filed against the Detroit suburb last week that claims the city’s at-large council election system, in place since 1929, “dilutes the voting strength of black citizens, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”
DOJ wants to split the city into four single-member districts, with one drawn to create a black-majority district. The change would require voters to approve an amendment to the city charter.
Eastpointe City Manager Steve Duchane, who is named in the federal lawsuit along with the council, has said the city’s black residents have not formally expressed concerns, and shifting to district voting could require spending as much as $50,000 to change polling precincts, register new voters and issue new voting cards.
But fighting the DOJ lawsuit in court could cost Eastpointe taxpayers a million dollars.
Reaction from residents was mixed, and council members and the city’s attorney say they want DOJ to provide more specific information about the allegations. The city has 60 days to file a response.
Critics who claim that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act provides voters insufficient protection are proven wrong by the ruling in this Texas city redistricting case:
“This decision shows that the Voting Rights Act is alive and well, contrary to the scare-mongering of some interest groups. When people claim that the Voting Rights Act was ‘gutted,’ the decision in the Pasadena case demonstrates they aren’t telling the truth,” J. Christian Adams of the Public Interest Legal Foundation told Breitbart Texas.
The full opinion is at the link.