Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Minority’s Power in Judicial Offices

Judges have crucial role in the judicial power to solve any disputes both categorized as civil and criminal cases. In the mid-nineteenth century, the process of choosing state’s judges had metamorphosed from appointive system into election. This transformation explicitly explained the hope of states toward judges to truly represent their community (Ifill, 1998). However, this hope becomes only a will in Texas. According to the data of total judges in 2014, it noted that 77% of Texas’s judges were whites although the population of African American combined with Hispanics reaches 50% in this States (Texas Politics 2015, 7.10). This condition leads to representation gap between whites and minority group.

            In 2011, federal judges found some cases indicated as discriminatory intend towards minority group in Texas. One of the examples is redistricting area or usually called as gerrymandering. While drawing the 23rd congressional district, Texas lawmakers deceived Hispanic’s district by taking over the district of active Hispanic’s voters and change it into Hispanic who tend to be apathetic towards voting. This widened the chance of whites to win the election. Furthermore, lawmakers had also intentionally reduced the number of minority’s districts in congressional seats. According to census of 2010, Texas’s population has increasing rapidly which dominated by 65% of Latino and resulted on gaining more representatives in Congress. However, although 14 districts claimed as Latino’s, Texas lawmakers only registered 10 of them. As the result, Latino had limited power to vote their representatives. The issue became even worse when minority groups had complicated requirement to get their voter-ID. They need to go to state Department of Public Safety Office and pay for high cost to get the required document. Most of African American as well as Hispanic who was more likely poorer compared to white had difficulties to afford it (Beckett & Lee, 2013).

            The above cases reflect a great strategy done by lawmakers to weaken the Voting Rights Act among minorities; they made transparent all the needs of this Act to benefit whites. Although these cases can be considered as civil case, however, it remains debatable to make sure that redistricting will trigger a party sue another party since both Democrats and Republicans usually done it together for the sake of their own party. Therefore, none of them will sue one another. Before 2000, state courts have right to regulate redistricting process although today it becomes the responsibility of federal judges (Boatright, 2001). Yet state judges still play important role in investigating the issue. In the past, the condition was not balance where whites or Republicans become more powerful rather than minority group especially African American who belongs to Democrats in almost all governmental branches. If Democrats party intended to sue Republicans, they would mostly fail due to the inexistence of their supporting power in state’s government. When they tried to rely on fairness value towards states court nonetheless, they would not get succeed either due to limited number of their representatives in judicial branch. In so doing, people are concerned on the issue of having equal representative in state courts exceptionally state trial courts.

            State trial courts have lower level compared to appellate courts since every dispute will be brought, proceed, and decided in trial courts before appealing process in appellate courts. For that reason, trial judges become intimately close with the disputes both for understanding the root of the cases as well as analyzing certain circumstances that will affect their decision (Ifill, 1998). Since people rely on them to represent their community’s values, many highly personal disputes asked them to find a solution. Hence, any subjectivity could not be ignored. In the United States, racial discrimination does still exist although not as extreme as in 1880s or 1990s. This becomes such a tradition in this country as well as downgraded into each states including Texas.

The racial discrimination is such provincialism; never be objective in valuing any objects and issues. If this applies in trial courts, trial judges will only struggle for cases of people with the same race; zero chance for another race to win the case. As the consequence, when minority groups’ representatives absent on this judicial offices, minorities’ voice will mostly be neglected. Therefore, more minorities should hold judicial offices. If this happens, Texas will able to eliminate redistricting issues as well as any other issues and make fairness truly implement among its citizens regardless their race. 

The Texas Politics Project. (2015). Texas politics (2nd ed.). Retrieved from http://texaspolitics.utexas.edu/textbook
Beckett, L., & Lee, S. (2013). Five ways courts say texas discriminated against blacks and latinos voters. Retrieved from https://www.propublica.org/article/five-ways-courts-say-texas-discriminated-against-black-and-latino-voters
Ifill, S. A. (1998). Judging the judges: racial diversity, impartiality, and representation on state trial courts. Boston College Law Review, 39(1), 95-149. Retrieved from http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2086&context=bclr
Boatright, R. G. (2001). Judicial independence and partisan politics. A Paper for the Brennan Center Conference on Judicial Independence, The University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/rboatri1/brennan.html

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