Monday, December 12, 2005

Supreme Court to Hear Texas Redistricting Case

It appears that the Supreme Court is not done with the Texas redistricting cases, and Texas is not done with the Supreme Court (AP).

Three states (Colorado, Georgia, and Texas) redrew their boundaries mid-decade and none was more political than Texas. Today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) agreed to hear 4 of the remaining 7 cases on the issue of Texas redistricting.

SCOTUSblog has the details. BOR writer Jim Dallas has a great analysis of the first SCOTUS decision and KT Mussleman has the review.

In light of the recent Department of Justice claims that the redistricting suppresses minority voters (Washington Post), I doubt that the high court will simply toss it back down to Texas again, and some see the fact that the case is even being heard as promising. I remain weary. With Sandra Day O’Connor possibly being replaced by Alito and with the Chief Justice John Roberts still a big question mark, this could be a situation were the high court will simply take the cases to affirm the current standards.

If the court does do the shocking and overturns the Texas redistricting then what? How will this affect 2006 races?

While some districts were negatively affected for Democrats, Republicans had to pay the price in at least a few districts. Congressional District 21 went from being 14 counties in 2002 to just 5 now. This is definitely a benefit to Democratic challenger John Courage. However, overturning the current districts will help elect another Democrat in Martin Frost’s former Congressional District 32.

This is a bit premature, but if the Supreme Court rules against the redistricting do the districts automatically go back to the 2002 standards? Do we simply wait until the 2008 panel is commissioned to do the census again? What are the true impacts other than a new precedent established?

The two most important things in the 2006 elections seem to be happening in the courts. Tom DeLay’s trial and now this.


At 6:12 AM, Blogger dksbook said...

Thanks for blogging on this, Matt, and for such a good, resourced analysis. My very first thought upon reading about this yesterday was, "How will this affect John Courage's campaign? Will it help or hurt?" Now Greg Abbott says the election will take place under the new, illegal districting, does that mean when John wins, and SCOTUS later rules the re-districting illegal, will those folks who did not have a chance to vote yes or no have grounds for a lawsuit? Your questions raise even more questions. I wait for some good election law minds to grapple with them.


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