I’ve previously written about a lawsuit brought on behalf of Hispanic voters in Irving Texas (https://texaselectionlaw.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/irving-isd-redistricting-lawsuit/), concerning the way in which the Irving Independent School District has drawn its districts.
Today, media in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are reporting that the plaintiffs have prevailed. The story is available here: http://www.irvingweekly.com/s/1705/Judge-Finds-Irving-School-District-is-in-Violation-of-the-Voting-Rights-Act-.php
The outcome of Benevides v. Irving I.S.D. isn’t particularly surprising – as I mentioned in the related post, witnesses for the defense gave testimony that was both astonishingly candid and also embarrassing for the district.
One trustee opined that he didn’t think the Voting Rights Act applied to his district, and gave the impression that he didn’t really care if it did. In addition, a former trustee (while generally more sympathetic to the complaints of Hispanic voters) took the tactically unwise position that Hispanics just never bothered to run viable candidates. Given that one of the plaintiffs happens to be a candidate who has run unsuccessfully for the school board three times, and given that the entire school board is white while 70% of the district is Hispanic, the “blame the victim” tactic was probably not the one to go with.
The school board is reported to be reviewing its options with its attorneys.
Although I’m loath to hand out legal advice gratis, I’ll give this piece of considered professional advice to Irving I.S.D. absolutely free.
Here it is:
Save your money, take your lumps, and embrace a rational 7-0 plan (i.e., elect your trustees from seven single-member districts).