Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tossing Out New District Boundaries: A Win or a Hollow Victory?

There is a curious piece on the Austin American-Statesman’s Postcards page about the victory that Democrats achieved today when Federal District Judge Orlando Garcia issued an order that blocked implementation of the new GOP-friendly district boundaries – definitely a victory. Definitely.

“The court order signed by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, one of three federal judges hearing legal challenges to how parts of the redistricting process, prevents the new maps from being implemented until the court decides otherwise.”

“The order notes that the maps have not been approved as yet under a section of the U.S. Voting Rights Act by the U.S. Department of Justice, as required. A separate lawsuit over that approval is pending in a Washington, D.C. federal court.”
So yeah, it makes sense to stop all work on implementing the boundary changes because this issue is far from being resolved. The feds may just tell them to go back to the drawing boards like they did before.

But the curious thing is this, On the one hand, State Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office has been identified as defending the new boundaries, and on  the other he denies that this is a victory for Democrats because he did not oppose the lawsuit.
“For the plaintiffs to somehow applaud this ruling as a win is like claiming victory at the end of the first quarter of a scoreless football game.”
How this equates to a football game is something that can only be found in the mind of a Texas Republican. This is more than a game. And the fact is, now a federal judge has weighed in on the new boundaries and found them to be at least questionably illegal vis-à-vis the Voting Rights Act.

Redistricting is as inevitable as death and taxes, but not when it involves removing whole ethnic groups from any ability to be represented in state or federal government. In redistricting, you can do an awful lot, but you can’t do that.

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