Fort Worth's state House District 90 is racially gerrymandered and "impermissible," the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Monday morning.
The case, Abbott v. Perez, stretches back to 2011 and hinged on whether congressional seats and state House districts were drawn to dilute the voting power of minority voters.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, threw out a lower court ruling that three other state House districts and two congressional districts discriminated against minority voters. Fort Worth's district is the only one the court found that was drawn in a discriminatory manner.
The district is represented by Democrat Ramon Romero Jr. It includes Polytechnic Heights. The neighboring district, House District 93, is represented by Republican Matt Krause and includes AT&T Stadium and stretches up through Arlington.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
"We hold that HD-90 is an impermissible racial gerrymander," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion. He sent the case back to the lower court to consider "what if any remedy is appropriate at this time."
The groundwork for the case began in 2010, when the Texas Legislature began redistricting after the census showed Texas gained about 4 million residents — many of whom were minorities. But a three-judge panel blocked the plan from taking effect and created its own map for 2012. Texas took the case to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court said the district court should use the legislature's map as a starting point for redistricting.
The maps (both the congressional map and the state House map) made their way back to the district court in 2017, when it ruled four state House districts were racially gerrymandered to dilute the strength of minority voters. Two federal congressional districts were invalid, too, it held. Texas appealed, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, which resulted in the ruling on Monday.
It remains to be seen what the lower court will do with Fort Worth's district.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch wrote a separate, concurring opinion. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the dissent, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.
"It means that, after years of litigation and undeniable proof of intentional discrimination, minority voters in Texas — despite constituting a majority of the population within the State — will continue to be underrepresented in the political process," Sotomayor wrote.