Monday, September 19, 2011

Two Down and One To Go

I need a hat trick. This past year the Texas Legislature passed some pretty bad legislation. Voter ID, of course, which I discussed previously, The Sonogram Law, also discussed previously, requires that women who seek an abortion, for any reason, have a sonogram done so they can be convinced one last time not to have the procedure done – a law so invasive on several levels that it greatly offends those who are lovers of liberty. And then there was the decennial redistricting where district boundaries were heavily gerrymandered to exclude minorities from having representation in the state house and in congress.

Well, as mentioned previously, enforcement of the Sonogram Law was stayed by Judge Sam Sparks in federal district court, thus eliminating that law that Rick Perry requested as “emergency legislation.” And now, today, we see that the Department of Justice has filed in court a lawsuit that challenges the way the legislature redrew state house and congressional district boundaries, saying that it was done specifically to discriminate against minority voters – voters who usually vote Democratic.

“The Department of Justice weighed in today on the controversial Texas redistricting map that Gov. Rick Perry signed in May and civil rights groups argue intentionally weakens the Latino vote to benefit Republicans. The DOJ signaled their concern that the map discriminates against minorities and therefore violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
That’s two.

Now I am looking for a hat trick. I have been told that September 23rd is a date that is important for the DOJ to challenge the Voter ID Law, arguably the harshest law ever passed anywhere recently that attacks one’s ability to vote in an election. Really. This law makes Jim Crow Laws look like decent treatment in that we know it is all about limiting Democrats’ ability to vote, but its stated purpose is to prevent foreign nationals from voting, a non-existent problem.

I’ve no idea what will occur on the 23rd. It could only boil down to posing additional questions to the state, thus postponing a filing challenging the law as yet another VRA violation.

A filing that seems all but inevitable.

So that’s the three-fer I am hoping for.

But on the other hand, why not go for broke? Why not challenge the constitutionality of yet another bad law passed by the legislature this year? Why not challenge the constitutionality of the biennial budget? This is a budget, passed by a Republican-dominated state legislature that fails a constitutional requirement that public education be fully funded. With an anticipated rise in enrollment, the legislature passed a law that did not cover new students, or old ones for that matter.

So in actuality, I want a four-fer.

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