▶ Watch Video: Texas expected to pick up GOP seats in redistricting

Washington — The Justice Department filed suit against the state of Texas on Monday over the state’s new congressional maps, saying the redistricting plans violate the voting rights of minority voters.

The 45-page suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleges that Texas has “again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans and continued its refusal to comply with the Voting Rights Act, absent intervention by the Attorney General or the federal courts.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Vanita Gupta announced the lawsuit at Justice Department headquarters in Washington. 

Texas’ population grew by 4 million people over the past decade, 95% of whom were non-White, the suit said. That growth has changed the demographics of its metro-suburban areas and resulted in more competitive races for incumbent Republicans. 

The new map passed by Republican legislators in October took those competitive seats off the map by extending them into more rural and Republican-leaning areas. The state “refused to recognize the State’s growing minority electorate” and “surgically excised minority communities” from a district in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by “attaching them to heavily Anglo rural counties, some more than a hundred miles away,” the suit said.

Gupta noted that Texas’ two new congressional districts comprise areas where White voters are in the majority, despite minorities driving the state’s growth. The map decreases the number of districts with a majority of Hispanic voters from eight to seven by “unpacking” the minority vote in Dallas-Fort Worth.