Jewish lawmakers say Texas redistricting plan discriminates

Posted: Friday, September 07, 2001

AUSTIN (AP) -- Four Jewish members of the Texas House have accused Attorney General John Cornyn of insensitivity for dividing ethnic communities in their districts under the redistricting plan he shepherded.

The plan led by Republican Cornyn jeopardizes the Jewish legislators' chances of being re-elected, the Democratic lawmakers said.

The lawmakers urged Jewish Texans to write letters of protest to the U.S. Justice Department, which is reviewing the plan.

Jane Dees Sheppard, a spokeswoman for Cornyn, said the board considered traditional communities of interest and the voting rights of racial minorities, but took no account of people's religion because federal law does not require that.

The plan that redraws political lines based on new Census figures was adopted this summer on a split vote by the five-member, Republican-dominated Legislative Redistricting Board.

The lawmakers are Reps. Debra Danburg and Scott Hochberg of Houston; Elliott Naishtat of Austin, and Steve Wolens of Dallas.

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