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A little history, first:  there's a reason you fill out a census form every ten years; Article I, section 2 of the Constitution requires a decennial counting to determine congressional apportionment.

Texas gained two congressional seats after the 2000 census, but Democrats and Republicans in Austin couldn't agree on a map, sending it to the courts to draw something fair.  When Republicans took over both chambers in Austin in 2002, Tom DeLay saw an opening, and convinced the Texas state legislature to redraw the map mid-decade to screw over as many Democrats as possible.  Five incumbent Democrats lost in 2004, while a sixth (Ralph Hall) switched parties.  The map also served to protect every Republican incumbent except for one -- Tom DeLay.  And we know what happened there.

You can see the map via this link.

Now, two years ago in Vieth v Jubelirer, the Court had four votes (Rehnquist, O'Connor, Scalia and Thomas) stating that poltically-based gerrymandering was never unconstitutional (or, rather, that there were no standards that the Court was competent to apply in determining when it had taken place), four votes (Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer and Souter) for trying to find some workable standard, and Justice Kennedy in the middle, determining that he could find no workable standard to adjudicate this case, but holding out the possibility that some future partisan gerrymander might be so bad as to force the Court to come up with something.

So, what happened today?  Here's a PDF of the Court's opinion.  A majority of the Court determined that nothing in the Constitution prevented Texas (and, thus, every other state) from disrupting the stability of decennial redistricting and redrawing the map whenever it felt like, and rejected plaintiffs' contention that a mid-decade redistricting was sufficiently suspect on its own to determine that a redistricting was unconstitutional.  The Court further declined to determine whether there was a general test to apply in the future.

However, partisanship was not the sole issue.  The Court determined that new District 23, designed to protect weak Republican incumbent Henry Bonilla by making his district more Anglo-friendly, violated the Voting Rights Act by unlawfully diluting the voting rights of Latinos who remain in the district.  Basically (and this is a complicated area of law), Latinos in the old District 23 were large and compact enough to constitute a majority of a district, but weren't any longer.  Said the Court:

District 23's Latino voters were poised to elect their candidate of choice. They were becoming more politically active, with a marked and continuous rise in Spanish-surnamed voter registration. . . . In successive elections Latinos were voting against Bonilla in greater numbers, and in 2002 they almost ousted him. Webb County in particular, with a 94% Latino population, spurred the incumbent's near defeat with dramatically increased turnout in 2002. [] In response to the growing participation that threatened Bonilla's incumbency, the State divided the cohesive Latino community in Webb County, moving about 100,000 Latinos to District 28, which was already a Latino opportunity district, and leaving the rest in a district where they now have little hope of electing their candidate of choice. . . .

Against this background, the Latinos' diminishing electoral support for Bonilla indicates their belief he was "unresponsive to the particularized needs of the members of the minority group." Ibid. (same). In essence the State took away the Latinos' opportunity because Latinos were about to exercise it. This bears the mark of intentional discrimination that could give rise to an equal protection violation. . . . The State not only made fruitless the Latinos' mobilization efforts but also acted against those Latinos who were becoming most politically active, dividing them with a district line through the middle of Laredo.

These are the basics, so far as I can tell. Bonilla's district will have to be redrawn, and who knows how many other districts will be affected. (I'm also not sure when this will take place; presumably, not in time for November.)  The Court's opinion is a mess, and this is going to take a good amount of sifting.  Thank goodness I'm not the only lawyer here.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:18 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Dude (5+ / 0-)

    The Court's opinion is a mess, and this is going to take a good amount of sifting.

    Just eat it, barf it out, take a picture, and we're good!....:)

    Thanks for the update and analysis.

    •  This is a disaster for America. (15+ / 0-)

      Gerrymandering leads to safe districts.
      Safe districts lead to

      1. nonresponsive government - nobody ever can unseat an safe incumbent, so they're in for life.
      1. Radical fringe-dominated government, because the people who participate in the party primaries on both sides are usually the most radical in their party.

      This leads to parties in Congress which can't see eye to eye on anything and barely speak the same language.

      It's a recipe for the destruction of the country.

      I don't know what the hell the genius-level a'holes on the supreme court wrote their opinion about. They've been O.K. with the ongoing unraveling of competitive districts for over a decade, so I think they're clueless dopes.  As it is, anything which Bush and the GOP corruption machine would endorse must be as sinister and dark as midnight in a coalmine, so to speak.  

      This, along with the electronic-voting machine fiasco still in progress, is what will turn Americans into serfs on feudal estates, if we're not already there.

      A nation of sheep will surely beget a government of wolves.

      by BlabberMan on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:51:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that partisan gerrymander (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jmart, Geotpf, oldskooldem, CenterLeft

        is not good for body politic.  Doesn't mean its uncosntitutional or that a court is competent to arbitrate when it goes "too far."

        •  It does in it's way (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TexDem, Alien Abductee

          There's a long history of laws being given constitutional clearance based on the need of those laws to establish a working democracy.  For example, camapaign finance regulation, on it's face, isn't covered by the constitution and seems a violation of the first amendment (if you assume that spending money is a form of expression).  It has, however, been given clearance by previous SCOTUS rulings.

          In the case of campaign finance regulation, the court has supported narrowly tailored regulation under the recognition that it is necessary to insure a democratic government that's responsive to public interests.  In this ruling, the court has just authorized gerrymandering, which is a process that clearly undermines basic democratic pricipals.  Past precedents suggest that their is a constitutional validity for preventing such abuses, but then this is the Alito/Roberts court so all bets are off.

          Even if you drop the notion of party affiliations out of it, the problem with gerrymandering is that a district, from year to year, won't always have the same shape.  This means that the people living in that district could constantly have to deal with having different representatives.  It damages the chances to have any consistency in leadership and it reduces the chance that a district's leadership can change to meet differing demographics.

          This precedent lays the ground work for every state to go out and start gerrymandering districts immediately.  Now, in the grand game of political conquest, you'd be foolish to not redistrict in such a way as to gain seats for the party in power.  It's unethical and damaging to Democracy, but then the SCOTUS just gave the all clear, so if you don't do it, you'll be at a disadvantage.

          --- If trickle down economics worked, Marie Antoinette wouldn't have lost her head

          by sterno on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:11:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are confusing 2 concepts (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Adam B, Catte Nappe, oldskooldem

            Just because something is NOT covered by the constitution means that it is not constitutionally required, but also does not mean that it is unconstitutional.

            Redistricting is covered by the Constitution, but the mode and timing is left up to the legislature.  The court has no discernable standards on which to decide that one map is OK while another one is not.

            Of course just because it is constitutional doesn't mean it's a right thing to do.  SCOTUS didn't give a green light, it just said that it will not get involved.  That's different.  

        •  SCOTUS Jurisprudence on These Issues Terrible (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jandey, MJB, Alien Abductee

          Basically, the SCOTUS has long since set itself up as  a protection racket for the political powers that be. See, for example, Timmons v. Twin Cities New Party (1997), which upheld the right of states to prevent parties from puting candidates on their ballot line that appear on other parties' ballot lines (i.e. fusion), or Burdick v. Takushi (1992), which upheld the right of states to ban write-in voting.

          In effect, the two corporate parties have conspired to prevent anybody else from having equal access to the ballot box.  And with the continuing triumph of ever more sophisticated gerrymandering, most of us will find ourselves locked in one-party districts (not simply for Congress, but for state legislature, and other offices, as well).

          But you reap what you sow. This is no longer a democracy (if it ever was). It's a kind of kleptocratic oligarchy. And both major parties have helped make that so, though the GOP is clearly better at gaming the system, in part because they are more ideologically committed to it.

          For a different perspective, check out Green Commons!

          by GreenSooner on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:12:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In those cases there was a standard (0+ / 0-)

            on which to decide.  There is no standard on which to decide when gerrymandaring goes too far or not too far.  

            •  I'm Not Sure I Disagree With You (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TexDem, Drgrishka1

              I'm not a lawyer, though I have read both the Burdick and New Party cases. I haven't read this latest case.

              What I was indicating was more that those of us committed to democracy should expect nothing good from the Supreme Court on party political issues, even under circumstances where potential standards are more clear.

              Ultimately these problems can only be solved politically, and neither major party has any interest in really solving them.  

              For a different perspective, check out Green Commons!

              by GreenSooner on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:28:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Completely agree (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                These issues must be solved politically.  Maybe by instituting the Iowa Method (a bipartisan commission that redraws lines without regard to incumbency, party registration, etc.)

                •  In all fairness... (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wystler, Adam B, Ckntfld, Alien Abductee
                  ...there's a specific statute, the Voting Rights Act, that specifically forbids dilution of minority voting power.  Congress passed the statute pursuant to a specific constitutional grant of authority -- the 15th Amendment.  There is no comparable statute forbidding dilution of partisan voting power.  Absent such authority (which would have to be enacted under a power Congress has under the Constitution, the Constitution specifically commits the matter to state discretion.

                  The solution is for ALL states to enact constitutional provisions requiring nonpartisan redistricting, or, failing that, for majority Dem states to draw similarly partisan gerrymanders.

                  Four hundred years ago, we were all illegal aliens according to the Comanche.

                  by DC Pol Sci on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:41:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  your second solution makes more sense (0+ / 0-)

                    It's time to bring the proper weapon to gunfights we choose to attend. To that end, the real target becomes state legislative elections in 2010, with the goal of winning clear majorities in blue states and purple states, and splitting bicameral red-state legislatures.

           ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

                    by wystler on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:02:23 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Reason for the 50-state strategy (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    This sort of thing is also why the 50-state strategy is so important. If we don't have a party organization at the local level, the rules will just keep bending until it's impossible to win at any level, no matter how right we might be.

              •  then you'd best ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                ... download this slip.

                It's rare to see the kind of amalgam of variant partial dissent.

                But it's pretty clear that redress for gerrymander whose basis for claim is neither ethnic nor racial will have no chance before this court (as constituted). It'll be years before a meaningful retirement will allow a positive corrective change.

       ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

                by wystler on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:57:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Safe Districts (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geotpf, TexDem, Ckntfld

        Like California? Gerrymandered for incumbent protection, nonresponsive government, parties that can't see eye-to-eye on anything, and the voters so disgusted they elect an Austrian actor as Governor!

        •  Yup (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CocoaLove, marko, TexDem, Catte Nappe, Ckntfld

          All of the gerrymandering crap needs to stop on both sides.  This just ups the ante now because each state will have a vested interest in redistricting sooner rather than later.  So now we'll have rancorous redistricting fights every year in state houses rather than every 10 years.  I'm sure that'll do a lot to make sure the people's business gets done.

          --- If trickle down economics worked, Marie Antoinette wouldn't have lost her head

          by sterno on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:14:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  fine (0+ / 0-)

            get the red states to blink first, and i'd agree with you ... otherwise, your solution is pie-in-the-sky ...

   ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

            by wystler on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:04:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's precisely my point (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Neither side is willing to call for any sort of detente on this.  The only real solution is a federal mandate about how redistricting must work and given the makeup of the Supreme Court I rather doubt such a law would hold up under scrutiny.    This ruling effectively nullifies the notion of the federal government being able to legislate any kind of balance except where it affects ethnic minorities.

              --- If trickle down economics worked, Marie Antoinette wouldn't have lost her head

              by sterno on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:44:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  federal mandate? (0+ / 0-)

                that'd be a constitutional amendment, since each state is currently empowered ... and it's far more likely that the VRA would be undone ...

       ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

                by wystler on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 11:57:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  No unilateral disarmament (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jandey, TexDem, rlharry, New Deal democrat

            The Dems can't behave in a bipartisan way while the Republicans act in a partisan way.  That's what's been going on, and it benefits Republicans.

            Democrats have to be as willing to gerrymander as Republicans; and in fact, if anything stops gerrymandering it would be for both sides to see they can be hit by it.  If Democrats stopped gerrymandering, Republicans would be sure to always strongly back the "right" to gerrymander.  If we can screw the Republicans over with a gerrymander, then maybe a bipartisan consensus for a constitutional amendment to stop it in the future can come about.

            It would be great if gerrymandering totally stopped; but as long as the Republicans do it, so should the Democrats.

      •  all the more reason ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... why the DNC's 50-state strategy is so damned important.

        It's pretty clear that this mess of a decision (non-decision?) is a harbinger of what can be expected from this Court over the next decade or so, since none of the uber-right justices seem to be going anywhere any time soon. The political battle needs to be pitched at the most basic level - door to door, neighborhood to neighborhood.

        Even with Democrats surging as this November's election approaches, it's important to see that the foundational support for progressive government has been grossly eroded through decades of neglect.

        (Yeah, I'll accept a small slice of the blame, since my own involvement never went beyond voting and occassional political tavern argument until the Chimperor was crowned.) ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

        by wystler on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:50:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why Not redestricting by Jury? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm serious.  I find the entire concept of Gerrymandering by either side offensive to all the basic concepts of representative democracy  (not mention it leads to Sky0high incumbency rates and the lection of more Partisan demogogues as opposed to moderate centrists)

        SO why not scrap the whole thing altogether and start over?  What would be wrong with Randomly selecting 100 voters (and disallowing any who held elected poltical or partisan office) sequestering them grand jury style with nothing more than a map of the state color coded by population density, and computer program desgined to create alternate districts based solely on population density using the Least Line Algorithim?

        We can make it illegal for them to consult any outside sources and treat any contact with them the same way we treat jury tampering.

        Give them a week, let them vote and live witht he results.

        what on earth would be wrong with that?

        Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

        by Magorn on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:50:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Define random selection (0+ / 0-)
          Who selects?

          Who ensures that the selector is unbiased?

          Even if the selection is done without bias, consider:

          Select 100 voters from the capital city, and you are going to get 100 voters who more or less randomly fall within the demographics of the capital city, be that more or less liberal/conservative than the rest of the state.

          •  ergo the jury requirement (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Jury systems are quite good at randomizing jury poool selection to ensure representatives from all over the judicial district.  And even if the electors were biased; without access to racial/income/or party affiliation demographics, how exactly are they going to stack the deck?

            Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

            by Magorn on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 12:17:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  This is fascinating. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IsraelHand, Nina Katarina

    Many thanks for pointing this out, hopefully this will spur some positive change.  Please post a tip jar!

    "No man should advocate a course in private that he's ashamed to admit in public." -George McGovern

    by Arturo52 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:19:31 AM PDT

  •  Let's just say it... (15+ / 0-)

    Every Dem-controlled state legislature needs to start looking at the boundaries of their Congressional districts, because we know for a FACT that the Republicans already are.  The court has declared a field day for this technique, and I'll be damned if the hard right uses it to purge us while we don't...

    Read James Loewen's "Sundown Towns"!

    by ChicagoDem on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:19:56 AM PDT

  •  There's only one recourse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IsraelHand, Inky

    to a bad USSC decision: vote the bastards out who named the judges and name new ones.  Isn't there a way to impeach sitting justices?

  •  Obviously, Scalia & Co, (15+ / 0-)

    would have reversed their decision had this happened in Massachusetts or California.


  •  Seriously, folks (28+ / 0-)

    This is the kind of summary paragraph that keeps lawyers in business:

    KENNEDY, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts II–A and III, in which STEVENS, SOUTER, GINSBURG, AND BREYER, JJ., joined, an opinion with respect to Parts I and IV, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and ALITO, J., joined, an opinion with respect to Parts II–B and II–C, and an opinion with respect to Part II–D, in which SOUTER and GINSBURG, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which BREYER, J., joined as to Parts I and II. SOUTER, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which GINSBURG, J., joined. BREYER, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. ROBERTS, C. J., filed an opinion concurring in part, concurring in the judgment in part, and dissenting in part, in which ALITO, J., joined. SCALIA, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part, in which THOMAS, J., joined, and in which ROBERTS, C. J., and ALITO, J., joined as to Part III.

  •  I'm disappointed... (5+ / 0-)

    ... to say the least.

    HowEVER... if it works for the GOP, perhaps our Dems should take a page out of their playbook and gerrymander the hell out of every Democratic-controlled state.

    We shall fight them on the internets. We shall fight in the Starbucks, and in the streets, we shall fight them on the Hill. We shall never surrender!

    by bhlogger on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:21:53 AM PDT

  •  The Republicans' Lawyers (6+ / 0-)

    Said this was done to correct past Democratic gerrymandering and more accurately reflect the preferences of a state that voted 61% for Bush and currently has Republicans in statewide offices.

    So in other words, nowhere in a large state that is currently under Republican control, is it allowable to have a Democratic district represented in Congress.

    Think about that for a moment, all huffing and puffing aside it's pretty messed up.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:22:12 AM PDT

  •  YEESH (10+ / 0-)

    so now every state in the union will redistrict every time there's a shift in power.  god, this is a cluster-f of biblical proportions just waiting to happen...

    "our politics are our deepest form of expression: they mirror our past experiences and reflect our dreams and aspirations for the future." - paul wellstone

    by liberalsouth on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:22:19 AM PDT

  •  Ugh. (5+ / 0-)

    I 'ugh' not only because I remember that fuckwipe Tom DeLay's smarmy pronouncement "Goodbye, Martin Frost!" but also because the Court's opinion is indeed a mess.

    I don't see clear, cogent law coming out of this Court until a few faces change. There's too much philosophical difference.

    Thomas has always been nothing more than a blurry Xerox of Scalia, Souter is not anything I can label, I can't read Breyer even with my glasses on, Kennedy must feel like he's got clowns to the left of him, jokers to the right, so he's stuck in the middle with...himself, Bader-Ginsburg gives me hope, and well, we know about Roberts and Alito.

    Live the questions. - Rainer Maria Rilke

    by Kimberly Stone on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:23:03 AM PDT

    •  My Sense About Souter (0+ / 0-)

      Is that he is quite sensible.  'Course, what the hell what that eminent domain crap of a decision?

      Still.  Though I might be biased, being from NH.  Run, Bartlet, Run!

    •  No coalition-builders = no coherence (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ckntfld, Commodify Your Dissent

      That may be the story of the Roberts Court so far, and it might stay that way until there are a few more changes in the lineup.

      The justices of former courts who once successfully persuaded others to join cohesive majority opinions are gone.  Brennan did it for a long time.  O'Connor did it to some extent.  The current crop of justices appears to have no one inclined to build cohesive majorities that will make definitive statements of the law.

    •  How In the Hell Is the 32/24/6/26 Constitutional? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      So let me get SCOTUS's arguement straight.

      The 26, which was held by Bonillia (R) but unsafe, was made safer, and that's unconstitutional.

      But, the 24, which was held by Martin Frost (D) and included blacks from south Fort Worth and Latinos from Oak Cliff, was broken into the 32, the new 24, the 6, and the 26, is constitutional?  Those blacks in south Fort Worth are lumped in a district with white suburban Denton (TX-26), and those Latinos in Oak Cliff are tied to upperclass white Northwest Dallas (TX-32).  That is also ignores the Latinos in Northwest Fort Worth who are stuck with Kay Granger (R-TX-12).  

      How can the former be a blatant dilution of the minority vote but latter not be so?  

      There is no way any honest person can look at the minority voting population in DFW and think we only deserve one authentically minority district.  

      We were screwed!

  •  I propose an Amendment (6+ / 0-)
    to the Constitution:

    IOKIYAR ["It's OK if you are a Republican]

    An up or down vote giving the Republicans  anything they want. A law that cages their opponents.

    They might as well go on the record, full out.
    Workers shall have zero rights.
    Ditto consumers.
    All power to the owners and bosses.
    /snarkity snark snark

  •  Does this require (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    TX-23 to be redrawn to the old boundaries?  It certainly looks bad for Bonilla's future in Congress.

    The most useless are those who never change through the years. James M. Barrie

    by jets ya on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:23:45 AM PDT

    •  It has to be redrawn (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IsraelHand, Nina Katarina

      To something more congruent with the Voting Rights Act.  Need not be the original borders.

      •  For Practicle Purposes... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, Nina Katarina, Ckntfld

        The legislature has to redraw the 23d back into its original shape. Laredo is the only place you're going to find 100,000 Mexican voters to remedy the Voting Rights Act violations that the court found , at least without doing extreme violence to the whole Texas map. Besides, Laredo was cracked in two (see my post below) by DeLay. You'll have to reconstitute it in order to deal with the "cohesive community" the court is demanding.

        Cuellar better not get too comfortable in his congressional offices. It looks like the court just ousted him.

        "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

        by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:43:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Additionally (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The decision means that my district (Tx 25), currently represented by Lloyd Doggett, must also be redrawn. The 2001 gerrymander of Texas was engineered by DeLay with perpetual Dem incumbents like Doggett in mind. DeLay hates Doggett and wanted him gone. Consequently, overwhelmingly liberal Austin was divided into three separate districts that come together at a street pole in a very central Austin neighborhood.

          I'm still angry as hell about that. DeLay's criminal conspiracy targeted the people of Austin and effectively put my city under Republican rule by extending those three districts outward for hundreds of miles into deep red Texas. Doggett was forced to run in the newly created District 25 against a  Republican opponent Rebecca Klein, who lamely used her Hispanic maiden name Armendariz when she put her name on the ballot even though today she still goes by her married name. She was a weak candidate and got trounced by Doggett, but Republicans picked up the other two seats representing Travis County.

          •  I've Gotta Say (0+ / 0-)

            I'm really proud of Mexican voters in the Valley who saw through Rebecca's ruse, and voted for Lloyd. They chose political principles, and statesmanship, in re-electing Lloyd over the ethnic politics Lloyd's primary and general election opponents put forward.

            "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

            by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:34:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  What About Our Nemesis Henry Cuellar? (4+ / 0-)

      He's got to be grinding his teeth right now. The 100,000 or so Mexican voters in Laredo that were packed into Ciro Rodriguez's old district will have to be brought back into Henry Bonilla's 23d, if this opinion means anything.

      Laredo was cracked in two by DeLay, with half of its voters packed into Ciro's old district, which gave Cuellar a platform to oust Ciro, while Bonilla's old district was ethnically cleansed (diluted) of half its Mexican voters. They'll have to reconstitute Laredo into the old 23d, as it was before the DeLay switcheroo. This will take away Cuellar's base in Ciro's old District, give Ciro a great shot at a comeback, and force Cuellar to run against Bonilla (again). This will also force the Texas legislature to re-jig the whole Texas map.

      It is a mess. But it's a mess for the Texas Rs, and for Cuellar in particular. This is a great victory for Texas Democrats.

      "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

      by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:37:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  WHAT..A..FUCKING..JOKE (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IsraelHand, jmart, Geotpf, CMFoster

    the supreme court has become totally disfunctional

  •  Mid decade redistricting (4+ / 0-)

    It's a mess, it's open to extreme partisanship, but I really can't see that it is prohibited by the Constitution.

    I wonder if a federal law prohibiting it would pass Constitutional muster.

    •  You can bet this will be (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ckntfld, Phil S 33

      conversation of great concern in DC today. Even more reason to get a Democartic majority. I never liked this gerrymadering going on no matter what party was sponsering it.

      The most useless are those who never change through the years. James M. Barrie

      by jets ya on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:29:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some pathetic % of people can name their (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      congresscritter.  If we change the bounderies every two years, it will be even less.  God forbid we do something for some stability.

      I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky. For I know that the hypnotized never lie. - The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again

      by bherner on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:34:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not just mid-decade (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jmart, Phil S 33

      The morons on the SCOTUS have made it OK to do this sort of crap with every change in the legislature.  They basically said there's nothing the Constitution preventing redistricting every time Frist takes a dump (or Limbaugh pops a pill).  There's nothing limiting how often or how extreme the political gerrymandering can go.

      C'mon Dems.  Take advantage of this weapon that the SCOTUS and their GOP masters have given us.  Totally disenfranchise GOPers in your state and then change the laws and state Constitution to prevent any chance of them ever returning the favor.

      Play for keeps because the Scalias and Delays are.

    •  Yes, and here is how it could work... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ckntfld, mspicata

      Because the House has the power to refuse to seat newly elected or appointed members.  IIRC, the federal courts have already said that they are loath to get involved in any disputes over whether the House should or should not seat a new member.  (The issue has arisen in the case of disputed House election results.)

      So, the Congress could pass a law providing that the House will seat only the winners of valid elections held in congressional districts that are redistricted only once every decade, plus maybe persons appointed to fill vacancies that arise due to resignation, impeachment, or death.  The law could specifically provide that the House will not seat anyone elected from districts that are re-gerrymandered in mid-decade.

      I don't think there would be enough support in Congress to pass that law, but I think the courts would decline to interfere with it if it was passed.

      •  Like your creative thinking (0+ / 0-)

        While I doubt any repubs would go for it, it is nice to see some "outside the box" thinking.  

        Two points in its favor:

        1. Since incumbents like to think they "own" their seat, the thought of having    to run in reconfigured district every two (or four, six or eight years) and possibly being ousted, they might go for this if they are in an area of rapidly changing demographics.
        1. The expense of coming up with new GOTV data, identifying "new" base voters, etc. might give them a reason to go along with your idea.

        A related thought: Most state taxpayers are just going to love footing the bill for repeated redistricting. Not to mention the time and energy sucked away from real problems that state might be dealing with. The current Republican controlled congress is a perfect example.

    •  Yes it would (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elwood Dowd

      pass muster, if I read this convoluted set of opinions correctly.  Add that to the list of things we do when we take Congress this fall.  

      lime rick All knew that Armando was an Armory of Wisdom.

      by mspicata on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 12:20:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well fuck... (6+ / 0-)

    then let's gerrymander the Blue states tomorrow.  Since it's now legal.  Let's see how Scalia and Thomas rule on the next one!

    Will we ever be able to undue the damage this conservative movement has done to our constitution?

    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by Five of Diamonds on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:28:08 AM PDT

  •  Basically, any Democratic dominated state that (10+ / 0-)

    has sufficent votes in their state legislatures that does not gerrymander to wipe out Republican congressional districts is not doing the Democratic party any favors.  

    This is a disaster for Democracy.  

    Don't be so afraid of dying that you forget to live.

    by LionelEHutz on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:28:21 AM PDT

  •  Computer Generated Districts (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IsraelHand, Rob M, marko, Tailspinterry

    We all know the "problem" with districting now is that computers are used by partisans (both Republican and Democratic) to draw districts in such a way that incumbants never lose.

    I wonder what the electoral map would look like if computers would be used to generate districts without regard to party - only blind population numbers.

    I bet all we would need to do is to take the existing software and set all the electorate to be "independent" rather than R/D/I and tell it to kick off.

    Would this result in a more fair district generation based solely on population (more like the founders desired IMHO)?

    Who would this benefit?  Republicans or democrats?  

    Any thoughts?

    •  Would not work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rob M

      Because the republicans would find some big donor who makes computer software and have hen design the software. And then we would have 435 republican congressional districts.

      •  Yeah... (0+ / 0-)

        I know it wouldn't work from a practical standpoint for that very reason, but I was just curious.

      •  Not true (0+ / 0-)

        The way to overcome this would be to have open source software, and then define all your parameters legislatively. Open source, no one can cheat. Perhap 3 or 4 different maps kicked out, then they can vote. But this would require a grass roots movement in a state that allows people petiuoned legislation. I recall seeing a web-site about this. Till we completely remove the partisan politicians from the process, we will continue to have issues. That goes forDems as well. They gerry-mandered the shit out the Republicans for years.

        Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. ~Plato

        by marko on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:55:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Would give both parties fits (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jmart, Tailspinterry

      Would mean that politicians would have to campaign for the average voter and not the two extremes.  Might be fun to see.  I think the average voter comes down on the democratic side of things more than republican.

      I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky. For I know that the hypnotized never lie. - The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again

      by bherner on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:36:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This would be best (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Drawing districts solely on population would mkae the electoral process fair and equal and would make politicans actually work to keep there jobs and then they would be true representatives of the people.

        •  You can't draw solely on population (0+ / 0-)

          Because there are an effectively infinite number of district layouts for any census with equal voter population. You have to choose from this enormous set, all of which have equal populations.  It's a grossly insufficient criterion.

          •  And (0+ / 0-)

            I presume that drawing solely based on population would fail all the protected minority tests as well - you'd have to ensure that you don't dilute latino or black voting rights, so any plan that was purely population based would be deemed unconstitutional.

            Or am I misunderstanding the law here?

          •  I wonder if that would be true though.... (0+ / 0-)

            If the computer looked only at count and not party or race, it by definition could not be inequal.

            Let's say you have an area 50 square miles and this needs to be broken into 2 districts.  If that area contained a population of RACE X, then they would get 2 districts.  If it was 50% X and 50% Y, then those 2 districts would be broken into 2 districts whose mix is either going to produce 1 sure rep for X and 1 for Y or will produce one that is 50:50 exactly.

            Since the computer doesn't care about race, it wouldn't draw a district based on race, so in theory, it would come out how it should come out without any human predispositions.

            Of course there is some chance involved, but I would think that where race X gets screwed here, they would pick up there.

            •  You could use randomly drawn districts (0+ / 0-)

              But they would be a) nonsensical and b) would reflect demographic gerrymanderings (e.g. Dems are more concentrated and will be underepresented with geographically random districts).

              You can have computer-drawn "fair" districts.  But you need additional parameters besides equal districting. There are many possibilities for the additional parameters, and they will all bias the districting in various ways.  Most of the fights over independent redistricting proposal hinge on which other parameters get chosen.

              •  Geographic (0+ / 0-)

                I don't think they would be all that nonsensical.

                The computer could easily chop a state up into something approaching rectangles.  They do it now to cities in such a way that it looks like someone tossed wet spagetti noodles on a wall map, I got to believe a computer could chop it up into semi rectangular blocks of equal number of people.

                So if you have a city of 10,000,000, and a state population of 30,000,000 and you know you get 3 reps, I could see the map cutting the state into three very narrow slices - the first would be 10M non city, 10M non-city/city and 10M non-city/city.

                It's just an idea with no hope of ever actually happening, so this is nothing more than a thought experiment.  But I would love to see someone do it and toss the idea out.  I bet you could sell it to the population as a whole - show them the "blind" map next to the gerrymandered map and they would probably say, "hmm, the blind makes sense".

    •  It was done with Chicago Wards (0+ / 0-)

      as an experiment by, I think, some academics.  The criteria were fifty wards equal in population and roughly square.  Turns out, the computer drawn wards reflected the racial breakdown too, which was everyone's concern.

      Not knowing the parameters of "square", all I can say is that eyeballing the map, they looked square.

  •  I agree (3+ / 0-)

    there really is nothing I see in the Constitution that prohibits a state redistricting itself at any time.

    Not that I think it is a good idea mind you, but there isnt anything in there that even remotely says it in my mind.

    Having said that, at some point, I can see where partisan redistricting can get so bad that it rises to the level where it interferes with the right to due process/equal protection in voting.

    So I'd obviously side with Kennedy and the liberals on the court on that.

  •  I just heard this decision announced on CNN (4+ / 0-)

    The reporter prefaced it with: "Good news out of the Supreme Court today...."

  •  Use it to our advantage (5+ / 0-)

    Dems are making gains in state legislatures all over the country.

    Let's take this goddamn ball and run with it.

    We will never win by playing by old-fashioned Marquis of Queensberry rules while the other guy is kicking us in the balls.

    Let the bipartisan crotch-kicking begin!

  •  You don't need a lawyer . . . (10+ / 0-)

    to understand what this means:

    Gerrymander on, dudes!

    And if Democrats don't do the likewise in the states they control -- forthwith -- they're toast.

  •  Thanks, Joe! (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks to Joe Lieberman and all the Democratic senators who didn't take a stand on Alito.  You just rogered Democrats in Texas but good.  Much obliged!

  •  Well then, lie in the bed they make (7+ / 0-)

    As Dems manage to wrest states away from GOPers, they need to make it a priority to politically gerrymander in THEIR favor to the exclusion of GOPers.  It cannot be defeated in the courts because the highest court in the land said, flat out, that this is OK, census be damned.

    Better yet, I say the state Dems need to gerrymander the shit out of their states for purely partisan reasons and then change state law, or better, the state Constitution to prevent any subsequent state leadership from doing the same:  take it from the politicos entirely and leave it to disinterested 3rd parties (like the good Texas map drawn by the panel of judges).  USE the SCOTUS' criminal ruling (always party before country or Constitution with the wingers even on the SCOTUS) and hoist both them and the GOP in general on the petard of their own forging.  Then set any retaliation as impossible via law and Constitution change.

  •  Colorado (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IsraelHand, Colorado Luis

    The Colorado State Courts invalidated a similar redisticting based, I think, on the requirement that maps be redrawn once every ten years.  Does anyone know if Colorado's districts will go back to the Republican map?

    •  State or Federal Law? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Colorado Luis

      If the Colorado decision was based on state law, nothing can change. If it is on federal, nothing is likely to change, since most cases that are not active are left as they were at final disposition.

      Democrats: Giving you a government that works.

      by freelunch on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:55:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not quite that simple (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Maven, Magster

        The Supreme Court said its decision was based on state law.  But in the course of making that decision it had to consider whether state law was pre-empted by the Constitution's language that "legislatures" shall set boundaries.  The state Republican Party has a federal court lawsuit that was recently reinstated by the Tenth Circuit where this will be hashed out.  If the feds decide the preemption issue differently, then the 2003 midnight redistricting map could be put back into place.

        The bottom line is that this decision puts CO-03 (John Salazar) at risk; it is a swing district under the court map but would be more of a Republican leaner under the GOP 2003 map, which herded almost all of the Democrats into CO-01 and CO-02 and split the remaining Dem areas in southern Colorado in two -- including Pueblo, which would be divided straight down the middle by the GOP map.  There would be a voting rights challenge to that because the southern Colorado Dems are largely Latino.  

        Of course, if Dems hold the state House and Senate and Bill Ritter wins the governorship, they presumably could redraw the maps yet again if they wished.

  •  One man, one vote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IsraelHand, Rob M

    I haven't had the time to read through the full decision.  But I wonder how this affects the "one man, one vote" principle set out in Baker v. Carr.  If the court has essentially rejected the  idea that states are mandated to peform a state level redistricting of congressional districts at the time of of national reapportionment, what's to prevent a state from not redistricting every 10 years.

    This was the case in the 1960's, when several states had not redistricted since the 1920's, so that there were 3 times as many people a district in Indianapolis, as there were in a rural district in Southern Indiana.

    What's to prevent a party from gaining power, and gerrymandering disricts to retain power, and not redistricting at the time of the census?

    •  It doesn't... (0+ / 0-)

      The challenged congressional map was deliberately drawn so districts were (relatively) equal in population, though, obviously, that's an inexact science.  There was (and could be) no challenge on Baker grounds unless there's disproportionate population in different districts.

      •  Where did they get the population figures from? (0+ / 0-)

        I interned during redstricting in my state, and I know that they cut up precincts using census tracts.  Where did they get that level of data 2 years on?

        •  I believe... (0+ / 0-)

          they relied on the same 2000 census data, because it's what they had to work with.  You can cut up the pie into a set number of equal slices hundreds of different ways.

          •  Created unequal. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rob M

            Shouldn't they be required to perform a new census of the population at the state level if they intend to redistrict?  The risk of creating unequal districts increases as the population numbers diverge.

            So while any district over time will diverge from its proportion of the state population, districts created at the time of the decennial census are created equal, where mid-decade efforts are created unequal.  It's not the effect that is the crime, it's the itent.

        •  2000 Census (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          They used the same census figures that were used in the original redistricting.

          Democrats: Giving you a government that works.

          by freelunch on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:51:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not Just 'Relatively' Equal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They were drawn so that they'd be as close to equal as physically possible.  Plan 1374C set up 32 Congressional districts such that every single one had a population of either 651,619 or 651,620.  The details can be found via the Texas Legislative Council RedViewer redistricting website: click on the link for Congressional districts and then view the population analysis report, which also gives the racial/ethnic breakdown for each district.

        As one can also see by clicking on "All Other Redistricting Plans", there were quite a large number of other proposals during the 2001-2003 time period, not merely the one which the DeLay plan replaced (1151C).

        •  Many Plans (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Maven

          The Republican House leadership in TX kept substituting plans one after the other even slipping some under the office doors on Saturday night/Sunday nornng and then calling for a vote first thing Monday morning after only the Repubs had been notified of the map. All along the real map was already being held by "Grandma" Strayhorn (now an independent candidate for Governor and mother of Scott McClellen and his bro).

    •  Two things (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      1.  If you gain or lose any seats, you have to redistrict.  You can't send ten congressmen to DC if the census says you're only entitled to nine.
      1.  OM/OV (Reynolds v Sims, actually) remains the law, and districts still have to track intra-state population shifts.
    •  Heh (0+ / 0-)

      What's to prevent a redistricting every year?

  •  Do ideologues on SCOTUS = messy opinions? (nt) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Gee, 'You're Welcome' to the other 49 states (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IsraelHand, sravaka

    My state of Texas and its "rat-fuck bastards" (to paraphrase what's-his-name on AAR) in the state Leg, have now given the GOP license to do this at any time in any state of their choosing.  And then do it again when the electorate swings again.  Screw the decennial census - - If you can demonstrate that in the last election voters voted in favor of your party, you have permission to screw over the electorate and its right to representation.

    "Dysfunctional" doesn't begin to describe this court.  Our right to representation is being ass-wiped here!

    One is sorely tempted to just do the same in any state that the state leg is Dem-controlled.  Let 'em scream!

    Ugh, Bleh, and oh shit don't even come close!

    Stop the politicization of crime!

    by tom 47 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:32:00 AM PDT

  •  A little good news? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IsraelHand, Phoenix Woman

    Surely this will end with Bonilla district being redrawn in such a way that, at the very least, will leave him with only the opportunity to represent the dregs of West Texas.

    Anyone have any idea on how this will affect Lloyd Doggett's seat?

    •  You're Right On. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phoenix Woman

      This will surely end with Bonilla's ass in the crack. However, there aren't enough people in West Texas to save Bonilla, if you leave El Paso together as one district. The only way this can be resolved is by Bringing Laredo's 100,000 Mexican voters back into Bonilla's fold. This is great news. It will soon enough endanger two awful politicians - Bonilla and Cuellar.

      "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

      by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:51:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  See upthread (0+ / 0-)

      Doggett represents me. My district will have to be redrawn according to SCOTUS.

      •  Not Necessarily So. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phoenix Woman

        All the leg's got to do is give back Laredo and the 23d its 100,000 Mexican voters they removed, and make them up with the voters they removed from Ciro's old district, none of which came from Lloyd's district, IIRC. I don't see that Lloyd will be hurt by this. He's already proven he can win with Mexican voters in the Valley, as well as with Austin voters. If anything, the required re-jiggering will bring back into Lloyd's fold some of his old Austin base.  

        "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

        by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:09:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have alterior motives (0+ / 0-)

          Having been shifted to Lamar Smith's district, I would love to see the San Antonio/Austin corridor of districts be completely upended so that we can get Doggett back. I've lived in many area of the state, but he is by far the best rep I've come across. Smith is repugnant.

  •  Redistricting is a royal pain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    State legislators don't like having the job.

    They get people in every party angry at them and they get courts reviewing and frequently overturning their work.

    I very much doubt that there will be a lot of states "taking advantage" of the ruling.

    •  Plus, you need to have a large majority... (0+ / 0-)

      in the state legislature, and a governor of the same party, to get it done.

      If a majority is too narrow, a few members of the majority party will wobble and the mid-decade redistricting won't fly.  And obviously a governor of the opposite party would veto it.

      If, just as a working rule, we assume that this can only be done in states where one party has at least six seats more than a bare majority in each house of the state legislature and the same party also holds the governor's office, that narrows the list down to just a few states.

  •  This is just weird (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenGoshi, Jules Beaujolais

    but it isn't the first time the court has handed down a delicious, cream-filled confection of illogic.

    This one is just a little more bone-headed than most. So, Okay, I Write

    by IsraelHand on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:33:14 AM PDT

  •  Bonilla and Cuellar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman

    Are we gearing up for round 2 of Cuellar vs. Bonilla???

    "I am a Democrat without prefix, suffix or apology." - Sam Rayburn

    by sandra1113 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:34:26 AM PDT

    •  Sure Looks Like It. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phoenix Woman

      Cuellar almost beat Bonilla in 2004, which is why DeLay cracked Laredo. Bonilla is a dead duck in a reconstituted 23d. Cuellar will not want to leave his DC digs. 'Course Cuellar will have to win a demo primary first.

      "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

      by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:11:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Whatever we think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    George in AZ

    doesn't this ruling just further enforce precendent?  I'm by no means an expert but from the little I know, I was always under the impression that partisan-redistricting was acceptable as long as you did not violate the VRA by screwing over minorities.

  •  slow down now... (4+ / 0-)

    Lets not blow our stacks.  After a cursory examination, the court seems to have it right.  As much as those on the left are hurt by this decision, the fact remains that the court cannot get involved in political questions; they are simply nonjusticiable (lawyers know all about justiciability).  Race on the other hand, and discrimination based on race is quite justiciable.  And the Court ruled in the minority group's favor on that point.  What has to be done is mobilize and change the voters' minds in these districts.  People are not born Reps or Dems.  They make decisions based on beliefs and policies.  lets stop bitching about the Court and get out into the streets and show the masses the error of their conservative ways.

    "Never forget that everything Hitler did in germany was legal"- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    by odogzesq on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:35:27 AM PDT

    •  I like your (0+ / 0-)

      calm assessment and I hope you're right, as I can't take the sky falling any more....

    •  Was Bush v. Gore a "political question"? (0+ / 0-)
      In other words, how is Bush v. Gore more justiciable than redistricting?
      •  Bush v. Gore (0+ / 0-)

         Bush v. Gore dealt with a different issue altogether.  It dealt with the mechanics of the florida vote and when/if/how many times the state should recount the ballots.  If anything, Bush v. Gore was a procedural issue, which is always within the purview of the court system.  The controversy with Bush v. Gore stemmed from the SCOTUS stepping in and stopping electoral process which in effect picked the next Pres.
         This appears to be different.  The SCOTUS is saying that it will not step into a partisan fray about choosing electoral districts.  It has almost never stepped into that realm unless a discrete insular minority group was at risk (ie: as in this case, Latinos).  As much as Dems feel embattled, as a group, the Dem Party is not a discrete insular minority unable to protect itself.  As far as the Bush v. Gore comparison, the redistricting issue in this case is substantive, not procedural.  Substantive problems that are at base political are nonjusticiable.  Our case law is clear on that.  And that is GOOD.  I for one dont want an appointed-for-life body making poltical decisions.  Do you?
         There will be an election in these districts, there will be votes cast and counted.  What the left is upset about is how those votes will break down along party lines.  To my original point, let's change people so that the old labels of "this is a conservative ditrict," "this is a liberal district" no longer hold true.  At that point we on the left will have won.

        "Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal"- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

        by odogzesq on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 11:02:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Redistricting is, in no way, a procedural issue? (0+ / 0-)
          I don't want to put words in your mouth, but you seem to be saying :

          When/if/how many times a state should recount its ballots is something the Supreme Court should involve itself in.

          When/if/how many times a state should draw up its congressional districts is something the Supreme Court should not involve itself in.

          Both involved substantive and procedural matters.

          And being "upset about how those votes will break down along party lines" was very much a part of the plaintiff's reasons for going to the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore in the first place.  Something about recounts in heavily Democratic counties and how that might affect the final tally.  B v. G was definitely a partisan fray over how votes should be recounted.  Was there ever an asertion by the plaintiffs that racial discrimination against any insular minority group was taking place in the Florida recount?  And yet the Court still heard the case.

          As far as the Court staying out of partisan politics, that horse left the barn long ago.  

          Again, do you honestly believe that Bush v. Gore was, in no way, a partisan fray over how votes should be determined, and was not, in any shape or form, a political decision?  Wow.

          By the way, I support whole-heartedly your point about changing the labels on districts and confronting the way people think about issues and the terms "liberal" and "conservative".

          •  more bush v gore (0+ / 0-)

            I am not saying the court should get involved in procedural matters and should not get involved in substantive matters.  I'm saying under my interpretation of the political question doctrine, the courts cannot get involved in substantive matters- they are best left to the political process, with the proviso that disrecete insular minorities are protected.
             As far as the court and politics.  The Court's partisanship is fundamentally different than that seen in Congress.  A Justice's poltical leanings bear on how they interpret existing law.  it does not bear on the creation of new law.  As such, a SCOTUS justice's partisanship is more contrained than a legislator's.  For example, Scalia believes flag burning is an abomination.  But he wrote the opinion in Tx. v. Johnson upholding the practice under 1st amendment grounds, because free speech is guaranteed by the Constitution.  He was contrained by his position.  If Scalia was a lawmaker, he could simply work to pass legislation like the now defeated Flag Burning Amendment to bring the law in line with his partisan beliefs.
             Look, bottom line is that the Supreme Court is a powerful instrument.  I'm disputing that.  What I am saying though is that out of the 3 branches, it is as close to nonpartisan as we can come.  When it comes down with a decision, we should focus less on why and how it did not mirror our partisan beliefs and focus more on what we can do in the changed legal landscape to further the liberal agenda.  

            "Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal"- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

            by odogzesq on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 12:20:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Understood. (0+ / 0-)
              I am not an attorney, so reading what you and others post is helpful in learning about this.

              What I questioned was your assertion that the redistricting challenge before the Supreme Court was not "justiciable", with justiciable  being defined as something that is an appropriate issue for a court to rule on. (If I'm off-base with that definition, I would appreciate a correction.)

              I based that on

              1)IMHO, the recount case decided by the Supreme Court on 2000 was just as substantitive, and just as much a political dispute as the redistricting case in question now.

              2)The Court itself thought that the redistricting case was justiciable because they did in fact rule on it; this may be my error in reading Adam's account to say that the Supreme Court decided that nothing in the Constitution prevented Texas from redistricting, except where it diluted Latino voters. That seems to me to be different than the  majority saying this issue is strictly a political one, and as result, not appropriate for the court to decide.

              As far as the bigger picture. . . By "political leanings" do you mean ideology? If so, I disagree with the statement, "A Justice's political leanings bear on how they interpret existing law.  it does not bear on the creation of new law."  New law is very often created by state and federal legislators on the basis of how current justices have interpreted existing law. Scalia himself can't create a new law banning flag-burning, but new legislation can be crafted with an eye towards how Scalia has ruled in previous cases. So in that respect, his political leanings do bear on new law.

              Justices may fewer opportunities to act on their ideology, but the real-life effects when they do can be just as powerful as that of the other two branches.

              Changing the legal landscape to further a liberal agenda is definitely a worthwhile goal, but even liberal legislators are going to have to deal with the the political leanings of Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia (why do I have the feeling he'll serve well into his 80's); and if we don't get the White House and Senate in '08, add Steven's replacement to the list.  Unless you believe that a liberal agenda can be enacted solely through a series of constitutional ammendments.  In our lifetime.

  •  One more good reason (4+ / 0-)

    To get re-districting out of state legislatures and done by nonpartisan commissions.

    Revolutionary words start revolutions

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:35:35 AM PDT

  •  So, (2+ / 0-)

    I'm assuming there will be no outcry over activist judges over this decision?

    Just a hunch.

  •  This re-drawing of districts should... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rob M, New Deal democrat, cgiselle12 done my bipartisan commissions, not state legislators and the supreme court. Thes commisions could have stidies done to determine fair and honest re-districting. Politicians in power, re-drawing districts to their advantage sucks bigtime.

    The most useless are those who never change through the years. James M. Barrie

    by jets ya on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:38:37 AM PDT

    •  Yes and no (0+ / 0-)

      To do it Right (with the capital 'R') it needs to be taken out of the hands of politicos...but...before that happens, the districts in all Dem-controlled states need to be gerrymandered like crazy (literally) to serve purely partisan purposes - to virtually eliminate all GOP representation in government.  After having that situation for a while, to ensure laws are passed that properly serve the people (and undo the damage done by GOPers) and get them virtually set in stone, ie, considered the norm by citizens, THEN hand over redistricting to a nonpartisan body.  We must use the weapon provided by the GOP and the SCOTUS to right the wrongs of the last 20 years before we make things impossible to wreck again by preventing the GOP from being able to gerrymander in the future.

    •  good point on an important subject (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rob M

      The idea that politicians of any party can "pick their constituents" is reprehensible.

      As you may know, one or two states (and a number of other countries) draw up legislative districts in the manner you have suggested.

      I'd flesh the idea out a little by presumptively favoring districts shaped w/in 1% of equal voting strength as follows: by (1) county, but failing that, then (2) municipality, but failing that, then (3) pre-existing  councilmanic ward or district, that is how the lines should be drawn.

    •  I Think So, Exactly (0+ / 0-)

      I simply don't understand why gerrymandering is legal, given its obviousness.

      Maybe we could have Diebold design a redistricting computer program.  Oh, bad idea.

      Seriously, you're right, though.

  •  No workable standard (0+ / 0-)

    It seems to me the easiest solution is to create a computer program that draws the district boundaries solely on the basis of population density.  Make it open-source so that anyone can see how it operates.  Then have it draw up a set number of maps and let the legislature decide which one to use.

    Of course, that would mean the incumbents can't draw up districts that favor themselves.

    The fear-mongering we depict in the film reminds me of President Bush and his guys. -- Mel Gibson

    by John H on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:40:07 AM PDT

    •  Programs are already used to gerrymander these (0+ / 0-)

      Each district must have exactly the same number of people in it (as per the 2000 census).  But the parties know how many registered Republicans and Democrats and Indies and Libertarians and Monster Raving Loonies are in each district, and, with a little number crunching, make the districts go the way they want them to.  The court said, as long as minorities aren't split up to weaken thier power, and the districts in a state are the same size (population wise), they can look whatever the people in charge of making them want them to look like.

      •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

        That's why I said the program should only look at population numbers, not party affiliation.  And the source code should be available to anyone who wants to look at it.

        I guess gerrymandering is like obscenity - the SCOTUS can't tell you what it is, but they know it when they see it.

        The best solution is to make the process transparent and unbiased.  Unfortunately, today's ruling went in the opposite direction - allowing the states to 'up the ante' in the redistricting sweepstakes.

        And then they wonder why people get sick of politics...

        The fear-mongering we depict in the film reminds me of President Bush and his guys. -- Mel Gibson

        by John H on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:16:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Any real change? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rob M

    Since politically-based or partisan gerrymandering is so heavily racially based, then the part of the opinion forbidding Anti-latino gerrymandering will always be a legal tool for democrats.

    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by Five of Diamonds on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:40:10 AM PDT

  •  Not as good for Republicans as some think (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, Pithy Cherub, hoolia, serrano

    It's going to be more than interesting to see how the leg redraws CD23 (where it seems like it has to give it more Hispanic voters). They can get them either from Laredo or San Antonio and either way it's going to put Bonilla in danger. You'd think they'll have to go with San Antonio because if they put more of Laredo in there Bonilla will have to face Cuellar and Cuellar will win. Republicans in the leg will do whatever they can to save Bonilla.

    The other option seems to me to be take Hispanic precincts from either Gonzalez's 20th (a voting rights protected district) or the San Antonio part of the 28th. I don't see them taking north San Antonio away from Lamar Smith, that's his home base and is whiter than most of San Antonio anyway. The second option seems like it would work but they'll have to balance 28 with votes from somewhere other than Laredo. I'm not sure how they can do that with the delicate balance they have with those south Texas districts. They'll want there to be as little vibration from changing the 23rd as possible.

    If i had to guess, i'd say they move the 25th back towards Austin, give the 28th Hispanic voters from the south Texas portion of 25 and give Bonilla Hispanic voters from the San Antonio part of 28. In that scenario, there will be a challenger to Bonilla from San Antonio but there's nobody right now to take him on at the moment.

    •  I Dunno... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geotpf, serrano

      The opinion speaks of the violence done to "the cohesive community" of Mexican voters when DeLay cracked Laredo's voters in two. It was this act which the court found to have violated the Voting Right's Act. Seems to me the only remedy will be to bring those voters back into Bonilla's old 23d.

      Besides, this is the only way to deal with the VRA violations, without doing extreme violence to the whole Texas map. If you reconstitute Laredo, the only districts that will be affected to any great extent are Bonilla's and Cuellar's, although it will probably still require re-jiggering a lot of the Texas map. But if you draw Mexican voters from San Antonio into Bonilla's district to protect Cuellar, it fucks up the whole map in dramatic fashion, including the boundaries of some major Republican players, including Lamar Smith. Same if you dip into the Valley to draw Mexican voters into Bonilla's district.

      "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

      by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:02:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  re: I Dunno... (0+ / 0-)
        1. The Republicans in the leg will do what they can to protect Bonilla. That means keeping Laredo and Cuellar out of 23.

        They could maybe put some more of Laredo into 28 but the Courts problem with 23 was that they took out Hispanic voters. You have to think they'll have to have a net gain of Hispanic voters to comply. The only places to get these voters is San Antonio or Laredo.

        1. If you reconstitute Laredo into 23, you're losing those 100,000 votes from 28. They've got to be made up somewhere. That'll screw up the map just as much as putting more San Antonio voters into 23. It creates the same exact problem.

        If the Republicans have the same problem either way, they'll push to not put Bonilla into a district with Cuellar.

        1. Dipping into the valley to shore up Cuellar messes with Democratic districts not Republican ones. There's enough play in the populations of the northern parts of 25, 28 and 15 that i think they could probably make it work.
        •  Where You Gonna Get 100,000 Mexican Voters... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam B

 reconstitute the 23d in a way that meets the SCOTUS test? Not in San Antonio -- unless you dilute Charley Gonzalez's district, and make it up with voters from Lamar Smith's district. This falls back into the VRA violations that TSCOTUS just ruled against -- by cracking San Antonio. Plus it requires endangering a whole slew of Rs if you want to protect Lamar.

          The Valley isn't an alternative either, IMHO. Bringing in Mexican voters from the valley would violate the "cohesiveness of community" that the SCOTUS found to be part of the VRA problem, because it would leave Laredo cracked. More importantly, if you take out 100,000 Mexican voters from the Valley and join them with Laredo, you're going to have to break up 2-3 Valley districts to do so, and have to find 100,000 voters somewhere else to make it up. They'll have to come from R districts. This will do extreme violence to the whole Texas map.

          Sure, the leg will want to protect Bonilla -- but not at the expense of 3-4 other influential sitting R congressmen. Henry's protection is what caused the VRA violation. The only way to solve it is by taking it back.

          "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

          by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:50:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  100,000 mexican voters (0+ / 0-)

            According to the 2000 census there are more than 200,000 Hispanics in the Bexar County portion of CD28. Between that and the 60,000 plus Hispanic voters in the Bexar County portion of Lamar Smith's district (i think we'll agree those are not his voters), i think it would be very easy to get 100,000 Mexican voters into CD23 without touching Laredo.

            San Antonio is already "cracked", it's split into four districts, a fact the court expressed no problem with.

            This might help you,

    •  Bonilla Has Been the Repugs' (0+ / 0-)

      favorite token for a long time--good riddance!!!  This is a signal to redouble our effortsin the Latino community, not only in Tejas, but across the Southwest and elsewhere...vamanos, pues!!!

      •  Especially Since... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...that old Latino demographics was what drove the Rs to redraw the Texas map in the first place. What to do with all those new Mexican voters that are threatening to turn Texas blue, sooner than later? Why, crack them and pack them, of course. SCOTUS did us democrats a huge favor in finding this to be not only a violation of the VRA, but also of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

        That rising tide of Latino demographics is gonna overwhelm the Rs in the SW. Thanks for pointing it out Chile Man.

        "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

        by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:22:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Por Nada, Carnal! (0+ / 0-)

          Y gracias a ti por la informacion sobre la Constitucion!  I didn't realize they directly linked it to the Equal Protection Clause--that's great news!  That clause--sacred to Black folks--could be a linchpin to help both communities realize we're in this together!

  •  Like a broken record... (4+ / 0-)

    ...I'll point out again that we now have a Court with no one who has ever won an election for the first time in history. This is all theoretical to the nine lawyers -- they have never been in a legislature. A Warren, Black, or Taft would be handy to have in the deliberations.

  •  The SCOTUS is Wrong and so Clearly (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rob M, TexasDemocrat, rlharry, curtadams

    They based the reapportionment on politics, not population redistribution. They did this in an off year - no recent census data- so there's no way to tell what the effect on voting right might be... this opens the door to reapportion districts whenever the whim arises, not based on the needs of the populace to be properly represented, but based on the narrow benefit of one party over the other...

    Shame on the SCOTUS for their willingness to place raw political force over the needs of the public  to be fairly represented; and their willingness to ignore common sense.  Reapportionment, while a state or local matter, should be based on the need to redistribute political power based on population changes - and only when there is updated official census to map the changes. only.

    "What's in the name of lord, that I should fear; To bring my grievance to the public ear?" - The Crisis, January 13, 1777

    by TPaine on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:48:42 AM PDT

  •  Ah... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rob M, espresso

    But a redistrict in Illinois or elsewhere in a Blue State would violate the oft apparent, never quoted precedent of Iokiyar v. America, 101 U.S. 1984 (2001).

    Giggity giggity giggity...Iraq's a Quagmire

    by TexasDemocrat on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:52:28 AM PDT

  •  Definately not in time for Nov (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B

    Primaries already have been held.  It will be redrawn for the 08 election.

  •  What about the VRA? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rob M

    I'm suprised I haven't yet found mention of using it. We've all been hearing/railing/petition signing/calling our reps/sens about it lately.
    Could we not just renew the VRA, but amend it to outlaw jerrymandering? Make sure that the only redistricting that happens is based on the 10-year census (assuming that the current census process bases the redistricting on numbers and ethnicity alone)?
    Feel free to explain the VRA.
    Feel free to explain why this would not be possible with the VRA. Or why it would be possible to renew and amend the VRA so that SCOTUS has a definition to rule with.

    -6.50, -6.26 *** Think Globally, Act Locally

    by cgiselle12 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 08:56:10 AM PDT

  •  Expanding the Voting Rights Act (0+ / 0-)

    So let me get this straight, spontaneous re-districting is fine as long as it does not effect populations of color. I agree w/ the Court's decision on TX-23 but can't see how, without a Constitutional amendment, changing the period of re-districting w/o criteria or formula aside from the exercise of raw political power is credible. Mid decennial re-districting is inherently questionable (Why now? What are the prevailing political winds?). And necessarily some group's ability to exercise its electoral opportunity will be hampered by these maneuvers. That's the point of this type of chicanery. Is the court opening up the door for case by case examinations when non-decennial re-districting occurs and is challenged? It seems that by expanding the Voting Rights Act to equal levels of accountability across the country, instead of the States of the Confederacy, and regardless of color. religion, ethnicity, etc  these type of gerrymandring maneuvers in general can be challenged.

    There is room for all at the rendevouz of victory

    by Sansouci on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:06:50 AM PDT

  •  Some sympathy for SCOTUS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Wife of Bath

    We always blame the Justices and revere the Founders.

    But it must be pretty frustrating for the Justices -- they must have been thinking, "Dammit! It's just plain good sense that you don't want reapportioning happening every two years! Why didn't Madison and friends say so??"

  •  Bottom line to this decision is Ann Coulter (0+ / 0-)

    will have an legitimate excuse when she shows up at wrong district next time--what with all the changes that will be coming......

  •  I think the Supreme Court got it right (0+ / 0-)

    As much as this might make people here angry, the concept of gerrymandering has been around since the beginning of this country.  The Supreme Court has pretty staunchly refused to put a halt to it over the past 200 years.  And as much as I think it's sleazy, the Court is right -- there's nothing in the Constitution that prohibits Texas from doing what it did.  

    The race issue, however, is actionable and able to be dealt with legally under the Voting Rights Act.  It's an unfortunate decision, but not wrong.  

    "The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting." Milan Kedrun

    by Guy Fawkes on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:14:13 AM PDT

    •  Yes but, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jules Beaujolais

      they did it on off-cycle for purely partisan gain - not to address new census data. The reason to reapportion is not to win the next election, but to redistribute population. As a result, we can be sure that they didn't have a view to what they were changing (except based on GOP membership) regarding dilution of voting rights.

      "What's in the name of lord, that I should fear; To bring my grievance to the public ear?" - The Crisis, January 13, 1777

      by TPaine on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:21:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  NeoCONs thrive on CONfusion. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geotpf, Jules Beaujolais, TPaine

    The bigger the mess the better they like it. Nothing interferes with their plans more than logic, reason and a knowledge of history.

    "I open the Times and scan for the latest whitewash ...It's always there, some slimey rhetorical hairball distracting from the substantive issue." MediaFreeze

    by Carbide Bit on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:21:02 AM PDT

  •  New York (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geotpf, TPaine

    Dems in the great state of New York need to take over the State Senate and put this decision  to the test.  They only need 4 seats to control the Senate and thus the redistricting process (because Spitzer will walk away with the governorship and they have a ridiculous majority in the Assembly).  Lets make the 3rd largest state in the union true blue and see how the Republicans react when we turn their own tactics against them.  Districts in New York have traditionally served to protect incumbents and have had some interesting results.  A friend said the 51st senatorial district looks like abe lincoln riding a lawn mower.  If Dems can take over the Senate the map will change drastically and dems will make significant gains in subsequent elections.

  •  The two congressman who are hurt by this (0+ / 0-)

    One is Bonilla, obviously the legislature will try to save him, but he will likely face a much more difficult district.

    The other is Lloyd Doggett.  It is possible that Doggett's district will be moved out of Austin, and Austin split between three Rethug districts.

    Cuellar is another question mark.  If Laredo is put back into CD-23, then what is Cuellar gonna do?  

    •  They Can't Crack Austin Into Three R Districts. (0+ / 0-)

      There's too many Democrats in Austin to make 3 safe R districts. Whatever they do with Austin, there will have to be one where Lloyd can win.

      The only solution is to put back Bonilla's and Ciro's old districts as they were. Sacrifice Bonilla, or seriously endanger 3-4 Rs, and risk having the SCOTUS throw the map back at you.

      As for Cuellar? Pobrecito.

      "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

      by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:29:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't matter (0+ / 0-)

        if I was a partisan Rethug, I take the chance of endangering 3 Rethug districts, and hope that incumbency and the heavily Rethug areas of rural central Texas will overcome Austin, and split Austin into three of four districts.

        Let's see, one can split Austin among districts 10, 11, 21, and 31 for example.

  •  Revenge is a dish best served cold (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buddha Hat

    The population is trending Democratic and there are places, such as Colorado, where recently Republican legislatures have become Democratic.

    Since the Supreme Court has given a green light to partisan redistricting, Democratic legislatures should act immediately to redistrict in favor of Democratic house seats, then, like Republicans would, lock in those majorities with state constitutional requirements.

    Help keep America a one party state - vote Republican! (-6.25, -6.92)

    by AndyS In Colorado on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:35:35 AM PDT

  •  strategy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mspicata, George in AZ, Buddha Hat

    Howard Dean's fifty state strategy suddenly looks a lot more intelligent, doesn't it?

  •  Fine (0+ / 0-)

    If this is how it's going to be we have to have a Constitutional Amendment - no Congressional district may have more than six sides.  Gerrymander away, but, holding to the stipulation that districts must have roughly equal populations, the results will be crude.  

    I'm not for haphazardly editing the backbone of our system of law, but this ruling amounts to a sanction on blatant electoral engineering on demand.  I'm with those who believe this contributes to non-responsiveness and partisan polarization.  Furthermore, I think the overall level of corruption is directly related to the average length of time in office.

    The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. - John Adams

    by tipsymcstagger on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:40:15 AM PDT

    •  They can't have 'roughly equal' populations (0+ / 0-)

      They must have exactly equal populations, based on the last nationwide census.  Of course, people have moved since then, but...

      •  of course (0+ / 0-)

        I just used "roughly" to denote the inevitable large census errors and the 10-yr lag.  But you're right, if the law allowed for "rough" equality, our state legislatures would push the courts to their limit.

        The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. - John Adams

        by tipsymcstagger on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:26:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Some Questions for Adam B (0+ / 0-)

    My understanding is that the census counts all persons present in a district (making no distinction between citizens and those who are not citizens).

    One could argue that gains in population in some states (e.g., Texas) are attributable to illegal immigration (if one is inclined to make that kind of argument).  Would it have any impact on apportionment if large numbers of people were deported?

    Does any of the jurisprudence on election laws make a distinction between those eligible to vote and those not eligible to vote?

    For example, does a Congressional district that houses a prison with several thousand inmates get "credit" for those inmates in the Congressional census even if they are not eligible to vote?  

  •  Gerrymandered Decision (0+ / 0-)

    That decision is purely political, and in no sense "Constitutional" except that the Constitution forces it to be law.

    The Court merely handed Texas to the Republicans, and "balanced" the decision by possibly taking away one election, Bonilla, from them. Redrawing the district on political terms, not population.

    That decision is as far as possible from unprejudiced (literally) statistical districting. Combined with popular voting, that's the only way to fairly represent the people in districts. Let the people vote which statistically derived map represents their district in their state.

    How can the maps that determine the government possibly be specified by the officials it determines, whether they be judges, Congressmembers, governors or any other? That is interest conflict of the most basic.

    And this decision is gerrymandered at the highest level, short of Ken Mehlman's office.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:45:42 AM PDT

  •  Folks.....Please Relax! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman

    First, there is NOTHING in the constitution that says you can only redraw congressional districts once a decade....absolutely NOTHING.  So, please, let's stop making that silly argument.'s time for our team to get in this game.  California, New York, Illinois, what other states can we gerrymander?  DEMS SHOULD NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF CRYING ABOUT THE WAY THE GAME IS PLAYED AND NOT CHANGE THE WAY WE PLAY.  LET'S GET WITH IT AND RETURN THE FAVOR.

    •  Please. (0+ / 0-)

      Your screaming is hurting my eardrums.

      "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

      by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:30:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry....but (0+ / 0-)

        My fellow progressives/libs/dems are just so godamned pussified sometimes.  It makes one want to scream.  We should not have waited this long to fire back in this war.  And I really worry that we won't.  And people wonder why the american people think the dems are a bunch of wimps???  Puhlease!

  •  The Title of this Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuco35, CenterLeft

    is very provocative.  SCOTUS says it's okay to screw Democrats but not Latinos...but when you think about it, they're exactly right to say that.  Every race is protected by the post Civil War amenments. The court is right to be vigiliant in making sure that hispanics were not screwed by redistricting.  But as for a political party, they are not a protected class.  And the reason they got scrwed is that they lost control of the state legislature by an election.  I strongly believe that this is bad government but I also believe that the Court was right to defer to the Texis legislature on how they draw the lines of their districts.  This ruling is right on principle.

    "Nation, this may free ball it." Stephen Colbert

    by SpiderStumbled22 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:50:12 AM PDT

    •  unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

      I think some of the greater defects of the Constitution stem from the founders' touching belief that the US would be capable of conducting politics without parties.  The redrawing of district lines was meant solely to keep the voting populations of districts in rough equilibrium, and I believe the implicit guiding principle expected from the founders was that the lines would roughly conform to objective boundaries, not to the re-election interests of parties.

      I don't disagree with you from a legal standpoint, but I think this is a case of the wording of law being used against the principle behind it.  The solution is not to ignore or break the law, but either to change it, or to elect people who will conform to the principle behind it (yeah right).  Thus, I offer the six-side limit to Congressional districts amendment to the Constitution.

      The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. - John Adams

      by tipsymcstagger on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 09:59:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  don't whimper, capitalize (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheRover, Geotpf, redstatedemocrat

    The Supreme Court basically ruled today that a state legislature can redistrict anytime it wants so basically the Delay gambit in Texas is ok. It also said Hispanics  were denied some rights and some changes need to be made in Delay's redistricing to correct for the inherent bias ( non dare call it racism)...anyhow instead of crying in our beer about the overall pro-Repbulican decision the Democrats should do two things:

    1. Loudly and clearly broadcast that the Texas Republican Party discrimitated against Hispanics  and that they can be expected to do the same  the more of they succeed in the  in the November 06 and 08 elections all states across the nation.
    1. All states with Democratic legislatures should begin redistricting to box out Republicans, increase the voting power of their constituents, and take back as much power as possible from the piglet party...

    The Supreme Court said this is fair play so let's play to win...I bet California could be an interesting place to start ... don't cry... get busy.

  •  My fellow Texans, (0+ / 0-)

    I am heartbroken.  I looked at the Graphic in this NYT article, and I'm stunned that Austin was ignored.  Re-districting ripped the city center into three congressional districts, one effect being that the white, vocal, highly Democrat Barton Hills neighborhood got joined with an outlying, white, Republican-voting area. The liberals are a now silenced 1/3 minority.

    This new district is so white, and buries the white Democrat vote--how is it possible that SCOTUS missed the burying of the white liberal vote in all of Texas, particularly in such a visible way in Austin, the state capital?  It is grossly undemocratic to make the visible Democratic voters and districts look like minority voters and districts.  And it is racist.  And it is just plain wrong.

    With tears of fury,

    •  25 affected (0+ / 0-)

      "Redrawing that districts will force nearby District 25, the Austin-to-Mexico district held by Democrat Lloyd Doggett of Austin, to be redrawn, according to the court opinion." - AAS

      Don't you get it yet? It's not incompetence. It's been the plan all along to destroy America.

      by voltayre on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:13:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not Bad At All. (0+ / 0-)

        The ruling will require Bonilla's and Ciro's old districts to be reconstituted. How do you remedy the ethnic cleansing of Bonilla's district? By bringing back the 100,000 Mexican voters from Laredo packed into Ciro's old district (and meet "the cohesive community" standard enunciated by the court). How do you make up these 100,000 Laredo voters you take out of Ciro's old district? By taking back the voters Ciro had from the Valley that were placed in Lloyd's district. How do you make these up in Lloyd's district? By giving him back his old Austin base. Otherwise you endanger a whole passel of safe R districts. The leg will never do that.

        "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

        by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:42:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not So Bad As To Be Heartbroken. (0+ / 0-)

      Lloyd is still in Congress. What DeLay's exercise proved is that there is no way you can break up Austin so much as to deny its liberals a representative.

      "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

      by chuco35 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:33:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Expect to See a Few More Latino Districts... (0+ / 0-) Republicans gerrymander districts to make them super majority Latino in order to be within the guidelines of this decision.   The GOP would rather have 1 majority Latino district surrounded by several conservative districts with few Latinos than to have population dispersed among several competitive districts.

  •  would you like to know more? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Rick Hasen will be providing analysis all day long, and the oral argument transcripts are here

    (trivia note: Texas Solicitor General R. Ted Cruz, who argued the case for the state, was the best college debater I've ever seen.  Kicked my ass, won speaker of the year.  Just a brilliant guy.  Wrong on the politics, but brilliant.)

  •  Now that the Voting Rights Act is History (0+ / 0-)

    How long will this decision have any effect?

    Or did congress, in fact, end up renewing the VRA?  I thought I read something about them letting it expire.

  •  Go see 'THE BIG BUY' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's all about this case. $15 from
    Adam B writes:
    "When Republicans took over both chambers in Austin in 2002, Tom DeLay saw an opening, and convinced the Texas state legislature to redraw the map mid-decade to screw over as many Democrats as possible."

    This is like saying "Liddy entered Larry O'Brian's office after he noticed the door unlocked at the Watergate Hotel headquarters of the DNC..."
    Tom Delay mastermined and enginnered the GOP takeover of the Texas Statehouse specifically to re-redistrict. The corporate money he spent on those statehouse races in doing so is what has him under indictment in Texas, where corpoarate money can't be used for direct campaigning. Even at that, it took a regular session of the lege, plus 3 special sessions to pass his own map which is what got mostly affirmed today. He strongarmed his way and got what he wanted through sheer determination.
    Like I said, go see the film - this is all in there.

    For only around $2 million, Tom bought himseld 5 more Delay Congressmen, the Energy Bill and CAFTA, probably gutted the Voting Rights Act, and but institutionalized his brand of gerrymandering as the law of the land.

    With this result today, he'll face jail time with a smile.

    •  Delay's probably laughing his pimply ass off, (0+ / 0-)

      today, because he expected this, knowing the Constitution is silent on redistricting and as noted above, political parties aren't a protected class like minorities. Except, was he really the mastermind or just the figurehead and fundraiser for a large cabal to carry out Rove's long-range schemes?
         This is another argument for the fifty state strategy because party building is the way to Dem majorities or near parity in statehouses.    

    •  Delay's probably laughing his pimply ass off, (0+ / 0-)

      today, because he expected this, knowing the Constitution is silent on redistricting and as noted above, political parties aren't a protected class like minorities. Except, was he really the mastermind or just the figurehead and fundraiser for a large cabal to carry out Rove's long-range schemes?
         This is another argument for the fifty state strategy because party building is the way to Dem majorities or near parity in statehouses.    

    •  Delay's probably laughing his pimply ass off, (0+ / 0-)

      today, because he expected this, knowing the Constitution is silent on redistricting and as noted above, political parties aren't a protected class like minorities. Except, was he really the mastermind or just the figurehead and fundraiser for a large cabal to carry out Rove's long-range schemes?
         This is another argument for the fifty state strategy because party building is the way to Dem majorities or near parity in statehouses.    

    •  Delay's probably laughing his pimply ass off, (0+ / 0-)

      today, because he expected this, knowing the Constitution is silent on redistricting and as noted above, political parties aren't a protected class like minorities. Except, was he really the mastermind or just the figurehead and fundraiser for a large cabal to carry out Rove's long-range schemes?
         This is another argument for the fifty state strategy because party building is the way to Dem majorities or near parity in statehouses.    

    •  Delay's probably laughing his pimply ass off, (0+ / 0-)

      today, because he expected this, knowing the Constitution is silent on redistricting and as noted above, political parties aren't a protected class like minorities. Except, was he really the mastermind or just the figurehead and fundraiser for a large cabal to carry out Rove's long-range schemes?
         This is another argument for the fifty state strategy because party building is the way to Dem majorities or near parity in statehouses.    

    •  Delay's probably laughing his pimply ass off, (0+ / 0-)

      today, because he expected this, knowing the Constitution is silent on redistricting and as noted above, political parties aren't a protected class like minorities. Except, was he really the mastermind or just the figurehead and fundraiser for a large cabal to carry out Rove's long-range schemes?
         This is another argument for the fifty state strategy because party building is the way to Dem majorities or near parity in statehouses.    

  •  Is 'Democrat' a race? (0+ / 0-)

    It's true, the Voting Rights Act was not put into place to protect the Democratic Party.

    We may not like the decision, but let's not get silly.

  •  I can see it now. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Democrats not only succeed in electing Elliot Spitzer governor of New York, but flip the NY State Senate as well (they only need one seat, last I heard).  First order of business in Albany?  The Strawman Act, creating the worst gerrymanders in American history.  Every district in New York State will be represented by a Democratic congressperson from the New York City metropolitan area.  As many as a dozen districts will run concurrently along the New York State Thruway to areas hundreds of miles from the Representatives' homes in Manhattan.

    Fact:  There are more than enough Democrats downstate to throw every New York Republican out of Congress.

    Proof:  Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    The objective?  To get the Supreme Court to reconsider their non-ruling on the Delay Gerrymander of 2002 by passing the most ridiculous re-redistricting plan possible using the computing resources at Albany's disposal.  If I were a member of the Assembly, this would my first bill of 2007.

  •  The principle the Court used... (0+ / 0-)

    ...makes sense to me, as others have said.  I'm not a lawyer, and maybe someone can tell me how it is wrong constitutionally.

    One thing to remember is that bad public policy is not always unconstitutional.  I'd love to see a nonpartisan way to redistrict, and I'd love to see it written into the Constitution-- maybe simply rules that leave so little discretion that it matters very little who is doing the redistricting, or maybe rules (not that this will ever happen) that require maximizing competitive districts.

    But, I don't think (from limited legal knowledge) that the Supreme Court was wrong to uphold the redistricting plan.

  •  23rd district-Laredo (0+ / 0-)

    Most of the area will continue to vote for Bonilla. Laredo (the septic asshole of Texas) is the only reliably democrat area in Bonilla's district, and their politics are a little 'unusual' to say the least (Google "Joe Rubio" and 'corruption' if you have a sec.) Even in the last election, when a native Laredoan was the dem. nominee for governor against 'Pretty Boy' Perry, they still couldn't swing the district from Bonilla (but they came close). Moving Laredo into another dem district won't change much.

  •  an attempt to summarize the myriad opinions (0+ / 0-)

    The decision was a huge mess, with nearly everyone writing their own opinion, and a tangled web of partial concurrences, so I've tried to summarize who actually voted for what.

    "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

    by Delirium on Thu Jun 29, 2006 at 03:58:13 AM PDT

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