The Justice Department on Monday sued Texas over the state's redistricting plan for House maps over the next decade, accusing Republican line-drawers of illegally undermining minority groups' right to vote.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the DOJ reviewed the Lone Star State's redistricting plan and found "they include districts that violate the Voting Rights Act." The lawsuit serves as a response to the map Republican Gov. Greg Abbott enacted in October, which independent analysts suggest gives the GOP an unfair partisan advantage.

"The Legislature refused to recognize the State's growing minority electorate," the lawsuit says. "Although the Texas Congressional delegation expanded from 36 to 38 seats, Texas designed the two new seats to have Anglo voting majorities."

The DOJ lawsuit was filed in El Paso federal court and alleges several districts in Texas's new map were drawn with the specific intent of discriminating against minority populations.


"Our complaint today alleges that the redistricting plans approved by the Texas state legislature and signed into law by the governor will deny black and Latino voters an equal opportunity to participate in the voting process and to elect representatives of their choice in violation of the Voting Rights Act,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, who was nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the Senate in April.

While the Supreme Court has maintained the practice of drawing new congressional and legislative maps for political advantage is not up for review by federal courts, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 states redistricting plans that disproportionately affect minority groups is illegal.

Garland said the redistricting maps violate Section Two of the Voting Rights Act. The new lines create two new districts in the state and make several existing districts less competitive for Republicans.

"The Department of Justice's absurd lawsuit against our state is the Biden Administration's latest ploy to control Texas voters," the office of Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted Monday.

"I am confident that our legislature's redistricting decisions will be proven lawful, and this preposterous attempt to sway democracy will fail," the account added. Paxton added in a later tweet, "I’m certain Texas will prevail!"

In October, Democrats in Texas slammed the redrawn map and accused it of being discriminatory toward black and Hispanic voters. Republican Texas Rep. Todd Hunter defended the changes at the time, saying they are compliant with the law.


    The lawsuit marks the second voting rights-related litigation battle the Biden administration has filed against Texas this year. Last month, the DOJ challenged the state's restrictive voting measures passed by the state Legislature earlier this year.