August 21, 2023

Recently, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, along with the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), made the case before the Honorable Jeffrey V. Brown, U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of Texas that the Galveston County Commissioners Court diluted the votes of and discriminated against its Black and Latino residents in violation of the Voting Rights Act and U.S. Constitution with its 2021 redistricting maps. The bench trial concluded Friday, August 18, and consisted of two full weeks of fact and expert testimony.
The lawsuit was initially filed in 2022 on behalf of three Galveston-area branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”) and the local council for the League of United Latin American Citizens (“LULAC”), as well as three individual civil rights leaders Edna Courville, Joe A. Compian, and Leon Phillips.
The lawsuit argues that the newly enacted Galveston County Commissioner Court precinct map intentionally discriminates against a growing minority population by destroying the only majority-minority precinct in Galveston County.  That precinct – Precinct 3 - had existed in Galveston County for decades, and its Commissioner, Stephen Holmes, has served on the Galveston County Commissioners Court for 22 years as the sole Black commissioner in a County whose population is 45% people of color. The lawsuit is consolidated with similar suits by the U.S. Department of Justice and by local leaders Terry Petteway, Penny Pope, and Derreck Rose.
The parties are now preparing post-trial briefing and will await the District Court’s judgment.  The Willkie team includes senior counsel Richard Mancino; and associates Diana C. Vall-llobera, Michelle Polizzano, Molly Zhu, Andrew Silberstein, and Kathryn Garrett.

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