DOJ Sues Galveston County Over District Map, Could Flip Democrat-Held Seats


President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing a small Texas county, Galveston County, for drawing its district map in a way that allegedly erases a single Democrat-held county seat. However, the county’s decision to challenge the DOJ’s lawsuit could have the opposite effect, potentially leading to the redrawing of at least a dozen congressional seats currently held by Democrats.

The controversy centers on the concept of “coalition districts,” which are districts where no single racial or ethnic group makes up a majority, but rather multiple groups combine to form a majority-minority district. The DOJ claims that coalition districts are in compliance with the Voting Rights Act (VRA), while Galveston County argues that the VRA only applies if a single minority group is sufficiently large and compact to form a majority.

Galveston County’s Precinct 3, currently held by Democrat Stephen Holmes, is a prime example of a coalition district. The county’s population has grown, with the Hispanic population increasing from 22% to 25%, while the black population decreased from 14% to 12%. The county redrew its lines after the 2020 census, which did not require preclearance from the DOJ, but still subject to Section 2 of the VRA.

The DOJ previously rejected a map proposal put forward by Galveston County in 2011, arguing that it decreased the black population while increasing the Hispanic and white populations. The county was required to adopt a new plan that decreased the Hispanic population while increasing the African American population.

A three-judge panel heard the case before calling for the entire 5th Circuit panel to consider the legality of coalition districts. The 5th Circuit issued an en banc opinion in December, granting Galveston County’s request to stay any changes to the county’s map pending the appeal. If the 5th Circuit rules in favor of Galveston County, using the VRA to create coalition districts would be illegal in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, potentially affecting at least five current House seats held by Democrats in Texas.

Constitutional law expert Hans von Spakovsky believes the 5th Circuit is likely to rule in favor of Galveston County, and that the Supreme Court is likely to hear the case after the 5th Circuit issues its decision. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Galveston County, Paul Ready, general counsel for Galveston County, believes that coalition districts in at least 10 congressional districts could be upended, potentially flipping Democrat-held seats.

Brianna Lyman
Brianna Lyman
Elections correspondent. Weekly guest on Newsmax. Also seen on Fox Nation.

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