July 5, 2006


Democrats Not Eager to Emulate Texas's Redistricting (Charles Babington, 7/05/06, Washington Post)

A state-by-state analysis...finds that Democrats' ability and apparent willingness to seize the opportunity left by the high court ruling in favor of the Texas plan are slim.

"I don't see much evidence that Democratic partisans around the country are salivating to do this," said Rep. David E. Price (D-N.C.), a former professor who has written several books about Congress.

The Supreme Court's June 28 ruling let stand the main elements of DeLay's audacious plan. It began in 2002 with adding Republican control of the Texas legislature to the governorship, which gave the party full rein over the redistricting process. Then, over Democrats' objections, Texas Republicans immediately redrew the U.S. congressional district boundaries in ways designed to maximize their gains, only two years after the traditional once-a-decade redistricting had taken place.

Left unsaid is that the initial Texas redistricting was distinctly awful and left the House delegation not the least bit representative of the overwhelming majority that the GOP has in Texas, a majority that gave them the power to redraw the districts.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 5, 2006 9:16 AM

The 2001 Texas redistricting plan was also drawn up not by an elected legislature or a legislative redistricting panel, but by a federal court that basically left the Democrats' 1992 redistricting design in place, minus a few alterations to take into account the addition of three congressional districts since the previous census. And the change was made after the 2001 changes to the state House and Senate seats gave the GOP the advantage in Austin to carry out DeLay's plan, since it was still controlled by Democrats through the Bush years and Rick Perry's first three years in office.

Changing a court-drawn redistricting plan carries with it a lot less of a sense of overturning "the will of the people" by dumping a previous plan drawn up by elected officials. Unfortunately, hardly any accounts of the Supreme Court decision bothered to note the distinction, so when the day comes that some elected legislature does decide to redo a redistricting plan that was actually drawn up by a previous legislature, the Texas case will still be cited as precedent.

Posted by: John at July 5, 2006 10:58 AM