Latinos and the Voting Rights Act

Latinos and the Voting Rights Act : The Search for Racial Purpose

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This volume explores the role race and racism played in the Texas redistricting process and the creation and passage of the state's Voter Identification Law in 2011. The author puts forth research techniques designed to uncover racism and racist intentions even in the face of denials by the public policy decision makers involved. In addition to reviewing the redistricting history of the state, this book also provides an analysis of court decisions concerning the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and a thorough discussion of the Shelby County decision. The author brings together scholarly research and the analysis of significant Supreme Court decisions focusing on race to discuss Texas' election policy process. The core of the book centers on two federal court trials where both the state's congressional, house redistricting efforts, and the Voter ID Bill were found to violate the Voting Rights Act. This is the first book that speaks specifically to the effects of electoral politics and Latinos.
The author develops new ground in racial political studies calling for movement beyond the 'dual-race' theoretical models that have been used by both the academy and the courts in looking at the effects of race on the public policy process. The author concludes that the historically tense race relations between Anglos and Latinos in Texas unavoidably affected both the redistricting process and the creation and design of the Voter ID Bill.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 318 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 27.94mm | 635.03g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 21 Tables, unspecified; 4 Maps
  • 0739190458
  • 9780739190456

Table of contents

Chapter One: Uncovering Racial Purposes in Voting Rights Politics Chapter Two: In Search of Racism Chapter Three: Racism, the Arlington Heights Factos, and Latinos Chapter Four: Latino Identity, Whiteness, and Dual-Race Theory Chapter Five: "Do Citizens Select Legislators or Do Legislators Select Their Constituents?" Chapter Six: There is a Method to This Madness Chapter Seven: Strategic Racism Uncovered
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Review quote

This book is a deep dive into the racism underlying passage of a discriminatory redistricting plan and a discriminatory voter identification law (SB14), both approved in Texas during the 2011 legislative session. Flores combines blow-by-blow accounts of the passage of those controversial measures, a legal investigation into the degree to which each violated the rights of Latinos and thus the Voting Rights Act, and the history of race relations in Texas, all framed by the Supreme Court's discussion of discriminatory purpose in Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp (1977). The book tells the rich and detailed story of racial animosity among Republican supporters of the two measures, as well as legislators' use of 'racist shields' and their refusal to discuss how SB14 might unfairly restrict Latino participation. Flores speaks powerfully to the history of race relations in Texas, where Latinos 'find themselves being used as a buffer race between Anglos and African Americans,' and the inattention of courts to the many ways that the two minority communities differ. He briefly touches on the impact of Shelby County v. Holder (2012), and calls for a recommitment to the proposition that all citizens, including Latino citizens, should have an equal electoral voice. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections. CHOICE This impressive and important volume explores some of the ways in which law has been used in recent times to disempower minority voters and distort democracy in the United States... Flores provides an insider's view of this litigation and produces a richly detailed and nuanced narrative based on voluminous documentary evidence related to both cases... Overall, this book shows the continuing relevance of race and racism in U.S. politics and policy and some ways in which racial prejudice may distort American democracy. It also outlines a promising methodology for scholars and legal activists alike to examine and, when relevant, demonstrate racial motivations in governmental actions. This study is a model of politically engaged research that makes significant contributions to the jurisprudence of equal protection, social science methods, and critical race studies. The descriptions and analyses regarding the role of race and racism in official governmental actions constituting the core of the research described in this volume are especially timely given our current politics, in which political rhetoric, policy proposals, and the actions of public agencies are increasingly challenged by political and legal activists and social movements. Law and Politics Book Review Henry Flores analyzes southwestern history, constitutional law and litigation to unravel the racial bias behind efforts to limit the influence of minority voters. With more than thirty years' experience as an expert witness in voting rights cases, Flores offers the reader a bird's eye view of the players and their motivations in southwestern electoral politics. He unravels the web of contested ideas, ideology and social science analysis that play out in contemporary voting rights struggles. Highly recommended. -- Benjamin Marquez, Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison Professor Flores has performed an enormous service by illustrating the ways in which power and race intersect in the distribution of political power where there is a far-reaching incentive to keep the contemplation of race hidden. His close study of the Voting Rights Act and the actions of the Texas Legislature shows the pervasive impact of race on decisions making and the ways in which it deforms democracy. Anyone who wants to understand the ways in which our racial history has distorted representational rights needs to read this book. -- Gerald Torres, Jane M. G. Foster Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School
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About Henry Flores

Henry Flores is the distinguished university research professor of political science and international relations in the Institute for Public Administration, Politics, and Public Policy at St. Mary's University.
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