Houston Matters

Lawsuit Alleges the Way Texas Elects Judges to its Highest Courts is Unfair to Minorities

Last month (July 2016), a civil rights organization sued the State of Texas, arguing the way the state elects judges for the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals violates the Voting Rights Act. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court saying the […]

Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public MediaLast month (July 2016), a civil rights organization sued the State of Texas, arguing the way the state elects judges for the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals violates the Voting Rights Act.

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court saying the statewide election of judges to the state's two highest courts discriminates against Latino voters.

Voters across the state cast ballots to choose which candidates fill the nine seats on the Texas Supreme Court and the nine seats on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Lawyers' Committee says that system unfairly affects minorities – and especially Latinos.

To learn more about the case – and what it could mean – Michael Hagerty talked with Mark Jones, political science professor at Rice University, who explains how the current system works and how the plaintiffs in the case would like to see it changed.

MORE:
Voting Rights Lawsuit Filed Over Texas Statewide Judicial Elections (Houston Chronicle, July 25, 2016)
Civil Rights Group Sues Over Texas Court Elections (Austin American-Statesman, July 28, 2016)

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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