In 2011, the Texas Legislature adopted a new congressional districting plan and new district team maps for the two houses of the State Legislature to account for population growth shown in the 2010 census. In order to comply with the Equal Protection Clause, the Fourteenth Amendment forbids “racial gerrymandering,” that is, intentionally assigning citizens to a district on the basis of race without sufficient justification. Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630, 641.
The Court stated that other legal requirements tend to require that state legislatures consider race in drawing districts. Like all states, Texas is subject to ¶2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), which is violated when a state districting plan provides “less opportunity for racial minorities “to elect representatives of their choice,” League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, 548 U.S. 399 (425).
At the time, Texas was also subject to ¶5, which barred it from making any districting changes unless it could prove that they did not result in retrogression with respect to the ability of racial minorities to elect the candidates of their choice. Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, 575 U.S. ____, _____.