The Ed Show | October 26, 2011
SCHULTZ: In the "Playbook" tonight: the Justice Department said Texas Republicans are intentionally limiting the voting power of Hispanics with a new redistricting map. Governor Rick Perry signed the redistricting map and he may want to pay closer attention to what he's approving now that's he's running for president. Justice Department lawyers said there was "ample circumstantial evidence of an intent to limit the voting power of Hispanics in violation of the Voting Rights Act ." The redistricting plan would affect nearly half a million Hispanics in the state of Texas . Justice Department lawyers and Republican Congressman Lamar Smith and others clearly considered race in their deliberations. According to e- mails, they knew the Justice Department would not pre-approve the plan so they didn't submit it. A review in federal court is scheduled for next week. Joining me now is Congressman Henry Cuellar of Texas . Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. REP. HENRY CUELLAR (D), TEXAS : Thank you so much .
SCHULTZ: Is this redistricting map as bad as it sounds?
CUELLAR: Well, let's look at it this way. In the last 10 years, Texas had a new growth of 4.3 million individuals. When you put that in numbers of new congressional seats, that gave us four new congressional seats. So when you look at the total growth that we had, 70 percent of that growth in the last 10 years were Hispanics . When you put African-Americans and other minorities, it adds up to 90 percent. So when 90 percent of the whole growth were minorities, but only the 10 percent get the congressional districts , we know there's something wrong. I think that what the Republican colleagues did, they overreached and were hoping that the courts will find what we call a section two violation and create more Hispanic minority seats in the state of Texas .
SCHULTZ: So, Governor Perry has signed on to this. How big a problem is that?
CUELLAR: Well, you know, the state legislature passed this. Governor signed this. And now, you know, instead of going through the Department of Justice like we've been doing for years and years, they decided to go around and go into the Washington court. Again, they didn't have a problem when Bush was the president there, but certainly now, because you have President Obama , they decide to circumvent the Department of Justice which they have a right to do that, it just hasn't been done this way and they're trying to go with the Washington panel up there in Washington , D.C.
SCHULTZ: With your office, Congressman, what has been the response of the Hispanic community in Texas on this?
CUELLAR: You know, one of the things, you know, people feel a little frustrated. For example, let's look at the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. They have about 1.3 million Hispanics but not yet a Hispanic district. I mean, how can you not have in an area like the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, a Hispanic district, why not in south Texas , why not the Houston area ? You know, the only way they created a Hispanic district is they went after a Democrat, eliminated that Democratic seat. Then they went ahead and created another Hispanic seat. That's the only we they gave us a Hispanic seat going after another Democrat.
SCHULTZ: All right. Congressman Cuellar . Appreciate your time tonight. Thanks so