In addition, the judges determined that nine districts were drawn with uneven populations - in violation of the one person, one vote rule - in Bell, Lampasas, Hidalgo and Nueces counties. Specifically, the judges pointed to Texas' urban counties, including Dallas, El Paso, Tarrant, Harris and Bexar, as areas where the votes of the state's growing Hispanic population were diluted.
"In almost every instance since the 1970s Supreme Court decision in White v. Regester, the Texas Legislature has drawn electoral maps in violation of the Constitutional protections against discrimination and the Voting Rights Act", Anchia said in a statement.
Civil rights groups, minority voters and politicians have asked the court to force Texas officials to submit a new congressional redistricting plan by May 5, with a map due from the plaintiffs one week later.
This tactic is known in the parlance as gerrymandering.
Writing in dissent in Thursday's ruling, Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the majority opinion was based on a misunderstanding of the law and findings that were "so extreme as to defy logic and reason".
Marc Rylander, a spokesman for Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a written statement that the AG's office disagreed with the ruling and remained confident about its case. Thursday, a different panel ruled by the same 2-1 margin that Texas' House map does the same. The maps originated in a House redistricting committee made up of 12 Republicans and five Democrats. Smith, for one, seems certain the case is headed for yet another appeal, ending his dissent with the words "Stay tuned". The Voter ID law required specific photo identification (including a gun license), conditions created to exclude a minority voting bloc less prone to possess such forms of ID, detractors have noted. This perception was recently furthered when the administration of Donald Trump said it would drop its opposition to the Texas Voter ID law after years of effort to achieve equity by the previous administration.
Texas also has sought to eliminate straight-ticket voting, one of just 10 states still allowing the practice.