Welcome to Delayistan
Well, the Republican map is valid for now. I cannot believe that I now live in a Congressional District that extends to Suburban Houston. I cannot imagine how anyone will be able to represent such a disparate district. I seriously doubt that we will see our U.S. Representative ever again at our neighborhood 4th of July celebrations.
One of the things that is striking about the court’s decision is its preoccupation with race. The impact on the voting rights of racial minorities is nearly the exclusive focus of the opinion. Now, this is not surprising as the Voting Rights Acts have traditionally provided the primary means for analyzing the validity of redistricting efforts. What we are seeing now, though, is the use of precise demographic and voting information to design districts that predominately favor one of the two political parties. In analyzing the effect of the redistricting plan on existing communities of interest, the court looked to see whether the effect on existing communities could be seen as evidence of whether ethnicity had been a predominate concern in redistricting. The court found that the impact on communities was trumped by the requirement of equal district populations (Opinion at p. 93-94). The Court did not analyze the effect of the redistricting plan on the communities of interest in Travis County. This redistricting plan did severe violence to the voting rights of Texans, but the court lacked the legal structure to analyze the true impact of the plan.
As the court pointed out, Texas has the authority to write rules governing Congressional redistricting, including prohibiting mid-decade redistricting efforts such as this. In Colorado, a limitation within the state constitution barred redistricting other than as required once a decade following a census. The Legislature should approve new rules for redistricting that will minimize the polarizing partisanship that has characterized the 2003 effort. Senator Wentworth has previously proposed the formation of an independent redistricting commission that could take on the effort and allow legislators to focus on legislative tasks. Such a commission and a rule barring mid-decade redistricting would be a good start in moving Texas back into a productive bipartisan tradition.
After Britney Spears’ 55-hour marriage “just for the hell of it,” I wonder anew what further damage gays and lesbians could possibly do to the institution of marriage.