Pasadena, TX Shows the Voting Rights Act Isn’t ‘Gutted’

Published On: January 12th, 2017

According to local Houston AM radio station KTRH:

A federal judge has delivered a legal smackdown to a local community in a voter discrimination case. Judge Lee Rosenthal ruled this month that the city of Pasadena‘s voting system is discriminatory against Hispanics and not only tossed the system out, but ordered the city to get “pre-clearance” from the Department of Justice before making any future changes to its elections or voting systems. 

At issue is a change Pasadena implemented in 2013, in which the city replaced its eight individual voting districts with six larger districts and two at-large seats voted on by the entire city. A group of residents sued the city and the mayor. “They said, look, the city of Pasadena is trying to discriminate against Latino voters by creating these at-large districts, which dilute our voting power,” says Logan Churchwell with the Public Interest Legal Foundation. Judge Rosenthal agreed, writing “the City violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection by intentionally discriminating against Latinos and disproportionately diluting their voting power.”

PILF spokesman Logan Churchwell noted the decision further demonstrates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is still functioning after the landmark Shelby County v. Holder decision.

“Despite the rhetoric that (pre-clearance) can no longer occur because of the Supreme Court, that has proven not to be the case,” says Churchwell. “The Voting Rights Act is alive and well, and the city of Pasadena is living proof of that.”

Radio segment audio has been posted below.

Public Interest Legal Foundation