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Court-drawn Texas Map
This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the above interim Texas congressional redistricting map (as well as new state legislative maps), which had been drawn by a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, stating that the judges shouldn't have started from scratch but rather should have deferred more to the map drawn by the state legislature.

Let's take a step back: Texas' legislature drew a new map to account for the decennial census, population growth, etc. Because Texas is a covered jurisdiction under Section 5 the Voting Rights Act of 1965, it had to submit its map to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or the Department of Justice for "preclearance"—i.e., to ensure that minorities weren't screwed over. They chose the Court. That's still ongoing.

In the meantime, plaintiffs sued Texas in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas alleging that the map, in fact, discriminated against Latinos and African-Americans and diluted their voting strength, notwithstanding the fact that Latinos and African-Americans accounted for three-quarters of Texas’ population growth since 2000. Sensing some merit in the plaintiffs' claims and fearing that the DC court wouldn't complete its process in time, the Texas court drew its own map—since Texas has an early primary and wants to have something firmly in place by February 1. And that, writes the Court today in a per curiam (i.e., unsigned) opinion), is where it screwed up:

[H]ere the scale of Texas’ population growth appears to require sweeping changes to the State’s current districts. In areas where population shifts are so large that no semblance of the existing plan’s district lines can be used, that plan offers little guidance to a court drawing an interim map. The problem is perhaps most obvious in adding new congressional districts: The old plan gives no suggestion as to where those new districts should be placed. In addition, experience has shown the difficulty of defining neutral legal principles in this area, for redistricting ordinarily involves criteria and standards that have been weighed and evaluated by the elected branches in the
exercise of their political judgment.  Thus, if the old state districts were the only source to which a district court could look, it would be forced to make the sort of policy judgments for which courts are, at best, ill suited.

To avoid being compelled to make such otherwise standardless decisions, a district court should take guidance from the State’s recently enacted plan in drafting an interim plan. That plan reflects the State’s policy judgments on where to place new districts and how to shift existing ones in response to massive population growth. This Court has observed before that “faced with the necessity of drawing district lines by judicial order, a court, as a general rule, should be guided by the legislative policies underlying” a state plan—even one that was itself unenforceable—“to the extent those policies do not lead to violations of the Constitution or the Voting Rights Act.”

So fix it if you must, but don't start from scratch:
[T]he state plan serves as a starting point for the district court. It provides important guidance that helps ensure that the district court appropriately confines itself to drawing interim maps that comply with the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, without displacing legitimate state policy judgments with the court’s own preferences.
The Supremes thus sent the judges to the drawing board—literally!—to try again, a compromise advanced by Justice Kagan during oral argument.

(Justice Thomas concurred separately to again remind everyone that he regards this whole "preclearance" business to be unconstitutional.)

What does this mean politically? In short, explains Rick Hasen, a map that's more deferential to Texas' original map will be more favorable to Republican political objectives.  Indeed, here's what our Steve Singiser said when the judge-drawn map was released:

With this morning's unveiling of the court-approved interim Congressional maps, one thing became clear immediately: Republican overreach on their attempt to remap the Lone Star State has cost them, at a minimum, two Congressional seats, and perhaps more.

Whereas Barack Obama only carried 10 of the 36 seats under the GOP map that was rejected earlier this year, the president won a majority of the vote in 13 of the seats in the new court-approved map, as you can see in this comparison spreadsheet.

[Many, many details.]

The bottom line is that, assuming the districts are not dramatically altered before the final map gets released, a state that looked like a net loss of two seats for the Democrats now looks no worse (absent a total national collapse for the blue team) than a net gain of two. Indeed, unless a huge alteration or a lawsuit changes the calculus here, the only remaining question would appear to be how many seats the Democrats will pick up in Texas, an outcome that seemed unthinkable at the start of the year.

Sadly, that's less thinkable now.

Originally posted to Adam B on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 08:19 AM PST.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It may be more favorable to Rs today, (17+ / 0-)

    but the good thing is the S.Ct. did not go after the Voting Rights Act and preclearance.

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 08:21:50 AM PST

  •  For more on preclearance and the VRA (6+ / 0-)

    I did a big diary when the Court decided Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder (2009), which all the cool kidz call NAMUDNO:

    It's one of the neat things about the Reconstruction Amendments that's sometimes overlooked -- not only do the 13th through 15th Amendments outlaw slavery and involuntary servitude, guarantee the privileges or immunities of all citizens of the United States as well as their right to due process and equal protection -- but the Amendments also expressly authorize Congress to enact further legislation enforcing these provisions.

    Among this legislation is the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which finally outlawed various discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the United States.  Moreover, the Act in its Section 5 created federal oversight of local elections administration, requiring that those states which had a history of discriminatory voting practices ("covered jurisdictions") couldn't make any changes that affected voting -- couldn't even move the location of a polling place -- without getting "preclearance" from the United States Department of Justice.  The idea was, basically, "we're not going to let you have one bad law struck down only to see you try again the next day with some new scheme to screw minority voters -- so before you change anything, see us."  That list of covered jurisdictions is here, and not only includes many Southern states but also most of New York City, isolated parts of Michigan and South Dakota, and even some California counties (among other locations).

    To make a change while under Section 5's jurisdiction, a covered state, county or local government entity must prove to DOJ that the voting change in question (1) does not have a racially discriminatory purpose; and (2) will not make minority voters worse off than they were prior to the change.  As you can imagine, it can be a burden...

    •  A Question Adam. (0+ / 0-)

      Could not the SA Court still come out with a map that favors Ds as well as their original map did, while still being true to the SCOTUS' mandate to start from the legislature's map?

      Actually, two questions. What does this SCOTUS order likely do to our electoral calendar for the races it affects?

      "I never met a man I didn't like." Will Rogers - American Redneck

      by chuco35 on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 10:50:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It would be trivially easy to develop... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    txcatlin, MJB

    ...a clean district map as a starting off point given the clear rules, demog, and zip codes.

    There outta' be a law an app.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 08:34:34 AM PST

  •  However Texas maps (7+ / 0-)

    are still completely up in the air given that the preclearance procedures still need to move along.

    If the DOJ and/or court, and it is my understanding it really needs to be both, decide that the legislatures maps do indeed discriminate against minorities then... what?

    Who re-draws the maps?

    It sounds to me like SCOTUS just told the 3 judge panel to re-draw maps starting with the legislatures maps as starting point... but even these need to get cleared by the DOJ, yes?

    While simultaneously the legislatures original maps need to get cleared. And if they are not cleared does it go back to the leg? Or does it automatically go to another court to decide?

    I'm a little fuzzy about how these multiple tracks are going to play out against each other at this point.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 08:37:45 AM PST

    •  As I understand it (6+ / 0-)

      3-judge panel in WD Tex to redraw interim map with state map as basis, but if the DC judges do approve the original map it's a nullity.  At the same time, the DC court is looking at issues which the Texas court can't address as directly -- VRA Sec 5 and not just Sec 2.  Hasen, again:

      One caveat: at most these lines will last for one election, as the preclearance issue being decided by the Washington court will dictate the preclearance going forward, and as the section 2 issue finally gets resolved by the three judge court in Texas.
      •  When will the DC court look at this? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        And doesn't DOJ still have to give its own clearance?

        Let's say the DC court declares the maps void. Do they then defer back to the 3-judge panel in WD Texas or do they tell the Texas leg to go back to the drawing board or do they take a crack at drawing the maps themselves?

        Same set of question with the DOJ. If they don't clear a states maps... who then has the task of drawing new ones?

        "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

        by Andrew C White on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 08:55:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  From what I can tell (5+ / 0-)

          Via, that DC trial is ongoing (and takes the place os DOJ review), with closing arguments scheduled for February 3.  And wow, this is a mess.

          Although the evidentiary phase of trial ends on January 26, closing arguments aren’t until a week later on February 3.  The court might rule quickly but it’s hard to see it ruling before February 8. It very well could take longer. And unless the D.C. court preclears the maps in their entirety, the San Antonio then would need to digest the D.C. court’s ruling and incorporate it into whatever maps it draws.

          Another option is splitting the primary into two parts - with statewide and countywide races on April 3 and other races later - but that would essentially double the cost of the primary for election administrators. County election officials of both parties have made pretty clear that they don’t think that’s a financial burden they should bear. By some estimates, Tarrant County alone could be out an extra $700,000 if the primary is split. Other counties such as cash-strapped Maverick County have said they would have to lay off employees to come up with the money needed if the state doesn’t bear the costs. State Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), in fact, has called it “the mother of all unfunded mandates.”

          Splitting the primary also would require the parties to adopt rule changes to address how national delegates are selected since the rules provide that delegates be selected by state senate district (for Democrats) and congressional district (for Republicans).  The question, of course, is what lines do you use?  That’s not so much an issue for Democrats, where Barack Obama faces no serious opposition, but it yet could be an issue for Republicans.

          Moving the date of the state conventions is equally unpalatable to the two major political parties. The cost of moving the conventions could be hundreds of thousands of dollars, assuming space could even be found for large conventions at the last minute (the Republican convention has around 18,000 delegates and alternates and the Democratic convention attracts about 14,000 people).

          Sounds like the WD Tex court has the power to implement any changes that the DC court says are needed.
      •  But if the new TX map has to be used, (0+ / 0-)

        does it not become the benchmark?

        Ok, so I read the polls.

        by andgarden on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 08:57:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't see how preclearance is a problem: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan

      with hispanics swinging to dems, there's no resistance to creating black and brown supermajority safe seats as part of the gerrymandering process.

      My wife says I couldn't have done it. And leave my wife out of this.

      by Inland on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 09:05:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But apportionment of new districts (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Andrew C White, Deep Texan, Odysseus

        may still be an issue. Under the VRA the number of Hispanic majority and opportunity districts must be determined to be fair according to their proportion of the population & population growth, no?

        Three of the four new districts should be Hispanic majority (by CVAP, I believe?), but that's not what the GOP drew.

        (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

        by TrueBlueDem on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 09:14:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Question Remains. (0+ / 0-)

          Can the SA court take what the GOP drew (as per SCOTUS), and still come out with three of the four new districts as Hispanic majority.

          There must be an app.

          "I never met a man I didn't like." Will Rogers - American Redneck

          by chuco35 on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 10:54:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  so do we *ever* get to vote here? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tacklelady, Samer, txcatlin, Matt Z

    how long will this delay take?

    this is so disheartening.  on so many levels...

    Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love – time is eternity. - Henry van Dyke

    by politik on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 08:46:18 AM PST

    •  Just the way I feel too (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      politik, Samer, Woody, txcatlin

      The last map seperated my precinct from the rest of my city and put us with other cities.  Just us.  

      So I don't know what races I will be voting in, or when.  

      Oh wait, this is Texas.  As we say about the weather, just wait a bit and it will change.

      If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

      by tacklelady on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 09:19:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  well, the only *good* thing i can think of is: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if texas doesn't vote in the general election, the republicans won't get our delegates...

        Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love – time is eternity. - Henry van Dyke

        by politik on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 09:32:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ... nor the TX electors and their votes...n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate... They are unanimous in their hate for me. And I welcome their hatred.-FDR

          by Jeff in CA on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 01:17:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  exactly. (0+ / 0-)

            not really the way i want to deprive them of our electoral votes though :(

            Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love – time is eternity. - Henry van Dyke

            by politik on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 04:11:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I still don't get the rationale (0+ / 0-)

    that section 5 is unconstitutional.

    can someone enlighten me?

    "Either we have to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share, or we have to ask seniors to pay more for medicare, or gut education...This is not class warfare. It's Math."

    by Adam Blomeke on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 08:51:30 AM PST

    •  From Justice Thomas, in NAMUDNO (6+ / 0-)
      The extensive pattern of discrimination that led the Court to previously uphold §5 as enforcing the Fifteenth Amendment no longer exists. Covered jurisdictions are not now engaged in a systematic campaign to deny black citizens access to the ballot through intimidation and violence. And the days of "grandfather clauses, property qualifications, ‘good character’ tests, and the requirement that registrants ‘understand’ or ‘interpret’ certain matter," are gone. There is thus currently no concerted effort in these jurisdictions to engage in the "unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution" that served as the constitutional basis for upholding the "uncommon exercise of congressional power" embodied in §5.

      The lack of sufficient evidence that the covered jurisdictions currently engage in the type of discrimination that underlay the enactment of §5 undermines any basis for retaining it. Punishment for long past sins is not a legitimate basis for imposing a forward-looking preventative measure that has already served its purpose. Those supporting §5’s reenactment argue that without it these jurisdictions would return to the racially discriminatory practices of 30 and 40 years ago. But there is no evidence that public officials stand ready, if given the chance, to again engage in concerted acts of violence, terror, and subterfuge in order to keep minorities from voting. Without such evidence, the charge can only be premised on outdated assumptions about racial attitudes in the covered jurisdictions. Admitting that a prophylactic law as broad as §5 is no longer constitutionally justified based on current evidence of discrimination is not a sign of defeat. It is an acknowledgment of victory.

      The current statistical evidence confirms that the emergency that prompted the enactment of §5 has long since passed. By 2006, the voter registration rates for blacks in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi had jumped to 71.8%, 66.9%, and 72.2%, respectively. Therefore, in contrast to the Katzenbach Court’s finding that the "registration of voting-age whites ran roughly 50 percentage points or more ahead of Negro registration" in these States in 1964, see 383 U. S., at 313, since that time this disparity has nearly vanished. In 2006, the disparity was only 3 percentage points in Alabama, 8 percentage points in Louisiana, and in Mississippi, black voter registration actually exceeded white voter registration by 1.5 percentage points. In addition, blacks in these three covered States also have higher registration numbers than the registration rate for whites in noncovered states. ...

      In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in order to guarantee that no citizen would be denied the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Congress passed §5 of the VRA in 1965 because that promise had remained unfulfilled for far too long. But now—more than 40 years later––the violence, intimidation, and subterfuge that led Congress to pass §5 and this Court to uphold it no longer remains. An acknowledgment of §5’s unconstitutionality represents a fulfillment of the Fifteenth Amendment’s promise of full enfranchisement and honors the success achieved by the VRA.

      •  Here is where he is wrong (7+ / 0-)
        But there is no evidence that public officials stand ready, if given the chance, to again engage in concerted acts of violence, terror, and subterfuge in order to keep minorities from voting.

        or blind... whichever one thinks the most accurate descriptor.

        "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

        by Andrew C White on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 08:57:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Fortunately, only HE believes that. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TofG, txcatlin, Setsuna Mudo, Matt Z

        'It's a troublesome world. All the people who're in it are troubled with troubles almost every minute. You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot, for the places and people you're lucky you're not.' - Dr. Seuss

        by KingofSpades on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 08:58:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Gad, that's precious. nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan, Matt Z

        My wife says I couldn't have done it. And leave my wife out of this.

        by Inland on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 09:05:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, there's more. (5+ / 0-)

          A whole lot of "this is how bad it was, but now that's over."

          The rebellion against the enfranchisement of blacks in the wake of ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment illustrated the need for increased federal intervention to protect the right to vote. Almost immediately following Reconstruction, blacks attempting to vote were met with coordinated intimidation and violence. See, e.g., L. McDonald, A Voting Rights Odyssey: Black Enfranchisement in Georgia 34 (2003) (“By 1872, the legislative and executive branches of state government … were once again firmly in the control of white Democrats, who resorted to a variety of tactics, including fraud, intimidation, and violence, to take away the vote from blacks, despite ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870 …”).2 A soon-to-be victorious mayoral candidate in Wilmington, North Carolina, for example, urged white voters in an 1898 election-eve speech: “Go to the polls tomorrow and if you find the negro out voting, tell him to leave the polls, and if he refuses kill him; shoot him down in his tracks.” S. Tolnay & E. Beck, A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882–1930, p. 67 (1995).

              This campaign of violence eventually was supplemented, and in part replaced, by more subtle methods engineered to deny blacks the right to vote. See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U. S. 301, 310–312 (1966) .Literacy tests were particularly effective: “as of 1890 in … States [with literacy tests], more than two-thirds of the adult Negroes were illiterate while less than one-quarter of the adult whites were unable to read or write,” id., at 311, because “[p]rior to the Civil War, most of the slave States made it a crime to teach Negroes how to read or write,” see also id., at 311, n. 10.3 Compounding the tests’ discriminatory impact on blacks, alternative voter qualification laws such as “grandfather clauses, property qualifications, [and] ‘good character’ tests” were enacted to protect those whites who were unable to pass the literacy tests. Id., at 311; see also Lopez, supra, at 297 (Thomas, J., dissenting) (“Literacy tests were unfairly administered; whites were given easy questions, and blacks were given more difficult questions, such as the number of bubbles in a soap bar, the news contained in a copy of the Peking Daily, the meaning of obscure passages in state constitutions, and the definition of terms such as habeas corpus” (internal quotation marks omitted)).

              The Court had declared many of these “tests and devices” unconstitutional, see Katzenbach, supra, at 311–312,but case-by-case eradication was woefully inadequate to ensure that the franchise extended to all citizens regardless of race, see id., at 328. As a result, enforcement efforts before the enactment of §5 had rendered the right to vote illusory for blacks in the Jim Crow South. Despite the Civil War’s bloody purchase of the Fifteenth Amendment , “the reality remained far from the promise.” Rice v. Cayetano, 528 U. S. 495, 512–513 (2000) ; see also R. Wardlaw, Negro Suffrage in Georgia, 1867–1930, p. 34 (Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Studies, No. 11, 1932) (“Southern States were setting out to accomplish an effective nullification of the war measures of Congress”).

              Thus, by 1965, Congress had every reason to conclude that States with a history of disenfranchising voters based on race would continue to do all they could to evade the constitutional ban on voting discrimination.

      •  I think that at some point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, VClib

        sect 5 is going to go by the wayside.  At some point, the Court is not going to look at what happened in the past to hold that some districts and not others have to be subject to sect 5.   At some point, the Court is going to have to show why the covered districts are still more likely to engage in that activity than the non-covered districts -- why district A is covered and district B is not.  And, in 2065, a statement that "district A did this 100 years ago" is not going to cut it.  I think that at some point there's going to be a requirement that, in order for the federal government to continue to exercise that oversight for redistricting, they are going to have to show a continuing problem  -- i.e., current data --  and that the continuing problem is significantly different for covered districts than for non covered districts -- i.e., why Texas should be subject to this oversight when Montana, Nevada, and California are not.  At some point, what Texas did in the past, in and of itself, is not going to be sufficient, I think.

        The question is (1) when that point is reached, and (2) what current data would justify section 5 preclearance.  

        •  I would suggest 3 cycles passing DOJ (0+ / 0-)

          If you can go 30 years with maps that the DOJ considers appropriate, you should be released from preclearance.

          However, if maps are later challenged successfully, preclearance may be reimposed.  I'm not set on whether a lone incident should be the threshold there.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 10:01:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, that presumes that only those with past (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib, Oh Mary Oh

            violations justify oversight.   It is past violations that put you in the mix.  At some point, the oversight has to be based on more current data, it would seem to me.  

            Why does Illinois get no oversight whatsoever, and Texas gets 30 more years of oversight?  We think there's no racial discrimination in Illinois?  New Jersey never gets looked at, but Texas gets 30 more years?   You are treating states differently based on what they did a while back.  For all we know, what is going with redistricting today in New Jersey, West Virginia, or Arizona, is more discriminatory than what is going on in Texas.  But there's oversight in Texas because of the past, and not those other states, because of the past.

            It seems to me that at some point (and we may not be there yet) constitutionally, the fact that you are subject to oversight in the first place has to be based on something other than what people did 50, 75, or 100 years ago.  

            •  this is silly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              First of all, Arizona is also covered by Section 5 so that doesn't even make sense as an example.

              Secondly, it's not like NJ and IL aren't subject to the
              VRA at all. If they started discriminating against minorities they could be newly added to the Section 5 list (as much of NYC was a few decades back).

              21, male, RI-01 (voting) IL-01 (college), hopeless Swingnut

              by sapelcovits on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 10:43:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Section 5 Is Here To Stay... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sapelcovits, andgarden

          ...if we re-elect Obama and give him a chance to select some more SCOTUS justices -- as well it should given the blatant racism in this country.

          "I never met a man I didn't like." Will Rogers - American Redneck

          by chuco35 on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 10:57:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  that seems like (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jeff in CA

        a pretty weak constitutional argument though.  

        I can see that as an argument for the need to repeal section 5, but not for ruling it unconstitutional.  Just because a law is no longer necessary doesn't make it in violation of the constitution.

        I could quote from a certain justice's dissent in certain other case that applied similar logic...

        "Either we have to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share, or we have to ask seniors to pay more for medicare, or gut education...This is not class warfare. It's Math."

        by Adam Blomeke on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 09:55:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I live in Texas (5+ / 0-)

    I faithfully vote every election, because I like the concept of having a Democrat representative, but I despair of ever actually seeing it within my lifetime.  

    We have been living with the bad map from Delay's actions for 10 years.  What possible "corrections" can be made to the legislative map to bring it back into line with anything other than a lifetime Republican supermajority, forever and ever and ever?

    The entire process is just sickening.  I will have to wait and see what happens, of course, but I don't hold much hope at this point.  

    There are days I really, really wish I lived in some other state.  Today is one of those days.

    •  Minor correction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      txcatlin, Setsuna Mudo

      youve only been living with Delay's map for about 8 years (it was passed in 2003). But I'm glad you vote in every election. Keep fighting the good fight.

      21, male, RI-01 (voting) IL-01 (college), hopeless Swingnut

      by sapelcovits on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 09:31:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  IMHO: Democratic strategy should be more focused (0+ / 0-)

        on going for the heart of the enemy- Texas.  If we could get Democrats nationally to help win just a couple of key battles and with our message based on honesty, we could take back Texas and the rest of the nation regardless of districting.  Because in Texas you have to engage and fight back.  When we do that we win people. But if we allow corporate propoganda to flourish we get what we deserve.  I choose to believe that the battle starts in the hardest area- at the heart of the enemy- not the marginal areas.  To hell with the districts.

        This "Trickle Down" thing has turned out to be somebody pissing on my leg and tellin' me it's rainin'.

        by swtexas on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 09:50:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hang in there. We'll turn Texas into a blue state (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      Maybe soon. Don't give up.

  •  And the USSC once again proves how awesome it is. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, Samer, txcatlin, Setsuna Mudo, Matt Z

    They're just making shit up by now, I take it.

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 09:30:40 AM PST

  •  Does anyone in Texas have a serious problem (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, Samer, wu ming, Setsuna Mudo, Iberian, Matt Z

    with the proposal to just bar Texas from the next House of Representatives altogether?  It has the advantage of simplicity.

    Democrats must
    Earn the trust
    Of the 99% --
    That's our intent!

    "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinksy OCcupy!

    by Seneca Doane on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 09:31:58 AM PST

    •  And at least that's not illegal (0+ / 0-)

      They've got to have their Senators, but nothing against depriving them of House representation without their consent. :p

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 09:40:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Observations & Questions To Ponder (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff in CA

    One of the primary goals of the Western District Court was to come out with an "interim" map ahead of the DC Courts map so that Texas could have an approved map in time to allow its early Primary process to go on as scheduled.  But with today's ruling that delay cannot be avoided and since the DC Court's map is due out in early February, it would seem that there is little incentive for the Western Circuit to redraw another "interim" map.

    Does this sound correct, or am I missing something?

    Next, this New York Times Article states:

    Texas sought approval from the special Washington court, but it has not yet received an answer, though the special court has indicated that it is unlikely to approve at least some of the Legislature’s map.

    So the DC Court won't be blessing the Texas Legislature's map.  But what will they come out with, and will today's SCOTUS ruling have any bearing on what they put forth?

    From a pure legal sense, the SOTUS ruling doesn't have any bearing on their map (yet) because the SCOTUS has directed their ruling to the Western Circuit, not DC.  If the DC Court is in the process of drafting a map that is loosely based on the Texas Legislature's map, no problem.  But if the DC Court was in the process of drafting a map from scratch as the Western Circuit did, they now know that won't pass SCOTUS muster.  So either they let it go forward and likely have it also get struck down by SCOTUS, or they go back to the drawing board and start with the legislature's map.

    Time will tell!  

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 11:10:27 AM PST

    •  My understanding is that if the maps fail (0+ / 0-)

      preclearance review by the DC Court, it would remand to the state legislature the responsibility for creating acceptable maps.  That is not the responsibility of the court or the DOJ.  

      In effect, go fix your maps, bring them back and we'll take another look at them.

      Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate... They are unanimous in their hate for me. And I welcome their hatred.-FDR

      by Jeff in CA on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:19:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is it still legal for a state to... (0+ / 0-)

    Is it still legal for a state to elect its Representatives at large, as many states did long ago?

  •  A 9-0 decision? (0+ / 0-)

    Get me to a fainting couch, quick!

  •  A per curiam decision is not necessarily 9-0 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I could be wrong, but my understanding is that if the decision is unsigned (i.e., per curiam), you do not know how many justices signed it, except that at least a majority voted for it.  Unless, of course, they tell you how many.

    If there are dissents, then you can figure out partly who did what, as in Bush v Gore.  The decision to select Bush president was per curiam (to me that smacked of cowardice).  There were various dissents and opinions that different justices signed, indicating the very messy legal rationales. One of the opinions threw out the Florida recount based on an asterisk in the opinion issued by the Florida Supreme Court.

    No wonder the Republican justices could not bring themselves to admit to such a laughing stock opinion.

    Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate... They are unanimous in their hate for me. And I welcome their hatred.-FDR

    by Jeff in CA on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:36:02 PM PST

  •  and we have a new definition for Clusterfuck - (0+ / 0-)

    TX 2010 redistricting


    The ruling from the Supreme Court rejecting the Texas redistricting map is just another way to boost the GOP plan to disenfranchise even more Democratic voters. (I cannot BELIEVE that this was a unanimous decision. Where are the liberal judges appointed by President Obama?) The stricter voter ID laws, trying to make college students vote in their home district, and now this rejecting of the redistricting in Texas all point to an obvious pandering to the Republicans' nefarious plans. How many other states will screw Democrats through redistricting? The GOP is intent on taking over the House AND the Senate in 2012, AND putting a Republican in the Oval Office, and they're willing to do it by hook or by crook. This unanimous vote by the Supreme Court makes me sick to my stomach.

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