By: Benny Agosto
The upcoming U.S. Supreme Court docket will force the court to decide on issues that could have a major effect on Latinos. The topics at issue range from redistricting in Texas, immigration laws and President Obama’s national health care law.
“These issues, taken together, may drastically change the way in which Hispanics go about their daily lives in the sense that voting trends may be hampered, access to affordable healthcare may be fleeting, and state immigration laws may have the effect of exclusion for many Hispanics,” says Houston Attorney and President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), Benny Agosto, Jr.
The Supreme Court will attempt to resolve a Texas redistricting case which involves a San Antonio court-drawn map that was favorable to Democrats and could have received three favorable districts because of Hispanic voters, compare to just one for Republicans. The new map could help the Republican Party keep control of the House of Representatives. The Supreme Court is set to rule on the issue in early-2012.
“This is a very important issue because redistricting concerns how the states draw up their congressional districts,” Agosto says. “If they’re democratically leaning – while Texas is pretty staunchly Republican – that should be reflected. The HNBA is bipartisan, but we will stand shoulder to shoulder with voters on their rights.”
The Supreme Court will also take up the issue of the government mandated health care bill, The Affordable Care Act, passed by the Obama administration. If the GOP succeeds in getting the health care law overturned, however, it may very well affect their standing within the Hispanic community.
Stephen A. Nuno, assistant professor at Northern Arizona University believes “[Hispanics] will remember which party tried to limit their access to resources and which party tried to limit their representation . . . Latinos have a long memory.”
Additionally, the Supreme Court will rule on recent immigration laws passed in South Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Utah and Alabama. The Supreme Court has previously ruled in favor of defending state rights unless a federal law clearly limits a state’s involvement in a certain area.
But regardless of how the court rules, it is clear that their decisions will have a widespread impact on the Latino community.