Sunday, March 05, 2006

Redistricting Update

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the legality of the Texas congressional redistricting plan. Anthony Zurcher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has an op-ed arguing that if this plan doesn't qualify as overly partisan, there's no such thing.
But in their zeal to redraw Texas' electoral map and maximize their party's representation in the congressional delegation, Rep. Tom DeLay and the state Republicans have gone too far - and, depending on the increasingly fickle views of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court might agree.
But David Broder doesn't think it likely. The arguments against the redistricting center on three issues: 1) A mid-decade redistricting was unfair; 2) Gerrymandering was excessive; and 3) Probably the strongest argument, that the redistricting violated the Voting Rights Act. Broder notes:
Questioning showed that about 100,000 Hispanics had been moved out of a South Texas district, improving the election prospects of Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla. The state contended that they were shifting Democrats - not Latinos - and Roberts, for one, appeared to buy the argument that the motivation was political, not racial.
So it's okay to crack and pack districts according to race, as long as you're a political hack and not a bigot. Ah, but I'm sure that Chief Justice Roberts, who attended private boarding schools, graduated from Harvard, and spent his formative years working with an ethnically diverse group of middle-aged white men, (Rehnquist was Scandinavian, after all) would certainly have a keen antenna for these issues.


Bradley Bowen said...

The only thing I'm confused on... what will happen if the Supreme Court finds DeLay's redistricting plan unconstitutional? It's already panned out and helped the Republicans in two election cycles. It's going to be hard to take back the damage it caused. And will each district in contention hold a special election since the Supreme Court will have held that the representatives in those districts got into office in an illegal manner?

Jo Smith said...

I think I read that if it is reversed, it would change the districts back to where they were before the redistricting. It would not affect the previous elections, but could have an impact on the current and future elections.