ICYMI: Key Voting Rights Act Case Before 5th Circuit

This case will have major implications for redistricting across the country. 

This month, PILF argued before all 18 judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Galveston County. The Court took the case up on En Banc to decide if it will overturn past precedent that allows political coalitions by minority groups to be protected under the Voting Rights Act.



Galveston County was sued by Petteway Plaintiffs, NAACP, and the Department of Justice over the County Commissioners’ acceptance of a redistricting map.

Their lawsuit alleges that Galveston County engaged in intentional racial discrimination when redistricting, violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and the U.S. Constitution.

It asserts that Black and Latinos vote cohesively and are therefore entitled to a racial gerrymander made up of a coalition of Black and Latino voters.


Congress never intended the Voting Rights Act to protect minority coalitions. The text of the Voting Rights Act makes no references to minority coalitions. The law’s language protects a singular “class of citizens,” not classes of citizens.

Previous courts have agreed that coalitions are not protected under the Voting Rights Act including the Sixth Circuit.


Extending Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to include multiracial coalitions would transform the law from protecting against race discrimination to protecting political coalitions. This case will determine if the Voting Rights Act can be used as a political weapon and will have major impact on elections and redistricting across the country. Listen to the full arguments below.

Public Interest Legal Foundation