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OCA-GH & AALDEF | Amicus Brief on Texas Redistricting

In 2011, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), together with pro bono counsel Kaye Scholer LLP, filed an amicus brief in Perry v. Perez on behalf of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) Greater Houston Chapter urging the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm a Texas district court’s interim redistricting plan after the Department of Justice (DOJ) contended that the Texas state legislature’s plan diluted the voting power of Asian Americans and other people of color.

AALDEF’s amicus brief in Perry v. Perez contends that the district court’s intervention was necessary because of significant evidence that the state legislature’s PlanH283 discriminates against Asian Americans, including:

  • Vietnamese American representative Hubert Vo’s district was merged with another district represented by Scott Hochberg. The House Redistricting Committee told Hochberg it intended to give him an advantage over Vo. The Asian American, Latino, and African American bloc of voters who have elected Vo since 2004 was dispersed.
  • PlanH283 greatly reduced the Asian American population in District 26 – where it is highest in the state – while doing nothing to offset the loss to Asian American representation. The district court noted this reconfiguration made District 26 “irregularly shaped” and “may have been an attempt by the State to intentionally dismantle an emerging minority district.”
  • Representative Beverly Woolley, who led the redistricting process in Harris County that led to PlanH283, excluded minority representatives from the process. She told them, “You all are protected by the Voting Rights Act and we are not. We don’t want to lose these people due to population growth in the county, or we won’t have any districts left.”

Following a trial in January 2012, the three-judge district court in Washington, DC denied Section 5 preclearance on August 28, 2012 in a lengthy and mostly unanimous opinion. In its ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to allow Texas to put its congressional, state senate and state house redistricting plans into effect because they have not been precleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. (co-counsel Kaye Scholer)

Read the brief below, and see the press release at this link.