Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Update: DeLay Redistricting

The Associated Press report sounds more like a press release from Howard Dean rather than a professional, unbiased piece of journalism.

Via The Washington Post:

Court Nixes Part of Texas Political Map

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld most of the Texas congressional map engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay but threw out part, saying some of the new boundaries failed to protect minority voting rights.

The fractured decision was a small victory for Democratic and minority groups who accused Republicans of an unconstitutional power grab in drawing boundaries that booted four Democratic incumbents out of office.

Shades of calling Paul Hackett's narrow loss to Jean Schmidt a "win!"

As much as I appreciate the Supreme Court decision, the section of the redistricting plan overturned marks a sad day in the Reagan legacy: Justice Anthony Kennedy must now forever be considered an enemy of the Constitution and an opponent in the battle for a color-blind society:

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, said Hispanics do not have a chance to elect a candidate of their choosing under the plan.

At issue was the shifting of 100,000 Hispanics out of a district represented by a Republican incumbent and into a new, oddly shaped district. Foes of the plan had argued that was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander under the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting rights.

Or, put more plainly: only whites can represent whites, only blacks can represent blacks and only Latinos can represent Latinos. The Republican plan added one black and Latino "minority-majority" district for Pete's sake!

A little from Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog:

The District that the Court found legally wanting is a huge Latino-dominated district that the state created in an attempt to salvage the political fortunes of a Latino member of Congress, Republican Henry Bonilla. He had been losing strength among Latino voters, so the state legislature drew a new district by including a largely Anglo, Republican area in central Texas. That, a Court majority found, was the product of a "troubling blend of politics and race -- and the resulting vote dilution of a group that was beginning to achieve [the Voting Rights Act's] goal of overcoming prior electorial discrimination." It "cannot be sustained," the Court concluded.

Whether the state legislature can repair the problem found by the Court in that one District without redrawing the plan statewide is uncertain at this point. The Court majority found no legal flaw in any other part of the plan.

This was the perfect opportunity for the court to rule once and for all that the Constitution is color-blind (it always has been) -- they did not. The Republicans should feel correctly admonished and their racial shenanigans must stop. But, for the court to stop there, giving its explicit support for districts based solely on race (other than white, of course), is a disgrace.

We need another conservative on the Supreme Court!

NOTE: Rush Limbaugh had the same take.

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