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State Senator Kel Seliger Speaks on Federal Judge's Ruling on Congressional Districts

AUSTIN - Three different Texas congressional districts are now considered invalid. That's according to a panel of three federal judges.

The judge's ruled that gerrymandering of those districts were discriminatory to minorities.
 
Gerrymandering has been going on for decade's across the united states and it isn't illegal.

State senator Kel Seliger of Amarillo has been a major part of Texas' legislative redistricting since 2011.

Seliger says, "I chaired the committee, so I was largely responsible. The redistricting bills were my bills."

Three federal judges ruled last week that three districts in south Texas, west Texas and the Austin area were invalid. Seliger says he wasn't surprised.

"I've been involved in it the whole time," says Seliger. "It doesn't come as much of a surprise necessarily because those things always seem to be litigated to the n-th degree."

The court says they found minorities were either packed or separated in district's to weaken their power. Seliger adamantly says the districts were not drawn with discrimination in mind.

"They were designed very carefully to meet the requirements of the Voting Rights Act. I understand the court challenges. My theory at this point is that we need to see where the appeals go," says Seliger.

He says these challenges are not uncommon.

"They've been challenged. They've been challenged before this, the state has prevailed some and the plaintiffs have prevailed some," says Seliger. "They are interesting legal questions, and they do need to be answered. I believe that the maps are constitutional, but I'm not the lawyer."

When a gerrymandering case is taken to court, the defense has to prove that the reasoning for the district's boundaries is not designed for racial or economic reasons.

Seliger says there have been zero talks legislatively to change the districts right now. This is because it's in the courts and he expects the state to appeal the judge's ruling. If appealed, the case will go to the Supreme Court.

 


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