Voting rights advocates say they are worried that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Friday to block Texas election maps could be a setback for Latinos - and other under-represented voters - across the country.
Texas led the nation in the number of congressional seats gained - four - because of a huge population increase in the last decade. Latino leaders had hoped that the pivotal role of Hispanics in that growth would translate into at least three more Texas congressional districts where minorities would be the majority.
Maps drawn by federal judges would have given minorities more say in elections. But Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear arguments about the maps.
Many Latino leaders and voting rights groups see the move by Abbott and the Republican-controlled Legislature as discriminatory against Latinos.
"The facts of this case that are undisputed are that Texas grew by four million people in 10 years, and 90 percent of that growth was minority, and 65 percent of that growth was Latino," said Texas State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, which has led the fight for legislative and congressional districts in the state to be redrawn to expand minority voting.
"That growth accounted for the state of Texas's four brand new congressional seats," Martinez Fischer said. "What the big chill [of the Supreme Court's decision] that should go up and down the spine of every Latino in the country is the fact that you could have an explosive growth not seen anywhere else in the country and not have an additional minority district.
"Then the Voting Rights Act will be meaningless," he said. "It will have no meaning in America."
Source: Fox News Latino