AUSTIN (AP) – The U.S. Department of Justice says Texas’ new voting maps for Congress and for the Texas House were drawn with discriminatory intent.

In filings with the federal court this week, the Justice Department is asking the court to reject Texas’ plans.

They argue that both maps diminish the ability of minority voters to elect their candidates of choice.

The state contends that the plans maintain or increase the voting strength of minorities and are in compliance with the law.

A three-judge panel in Washington has scheduled a hearing on the case for Wednesday.

The legal fight in Washington revolves around a requirement in the Voting Rights Act that certain states, including Texas, be granted “preclearance” before redistricting maps and other changes in voting practices can be enacted.

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