October 04, 2003
I'm all confused

Well, after reading the usual five sources for redistricting news, I officially have no idea if a deal is imminent, on the horizon, or nowhere in sight. There's compromises, cut-n-paste jobs, still no agreement on West Texas, and a renewed attempt by the GOP to move minority voters around in order to kill off Martin Frost and Chris Bell without violating Voting Rights Act laws. Both chambers are now adjourned until Monday instead of Sunday, and now Governor "What, me worry?" Perry is saying that the drop-dead deadline of Monday isn't so drop-deady any more. My brain hurts.

Judge for yourself here, here, here, here, and here. I just want to quote one bit, from the Express News, in which our Governor shows once again why he is the leader that he is.

Gov. Rick Perry, who has pushed for redistricting, has said he'd prefer not to change the filing deadline or primary date, but he'll support such a move if redistricting hinges on it.

"The world doesn't stop turning on its axis if we don't get something done by Monday," he said Friday. "Obviously my druthers would be that we have a bill by Sunday close of business and we don't have to move filing deadlines or primaries. But again, if that does not occur, it doesn't long-term substantially do damage."

He said he remains optimistic that negotiations would end successfully, and he continued to blame Democrats.

"When you leave and go to New Mexico, you're not just protecting some political cronies, you're also costing people in the state of Texas a heck of a lot of money," Perry said, referring to a 45-day walkout by 11 Senate Democrats who fled to Albuquerque to stall the redistricting issue.

Right. And here we are, after one entire special session and half of another, and the GOP still doesn't have its act together. What the hell were you doing during those 45 days, Rick? You surely weren't working with Dewhurst, Craddick, et al on a final version of the map that meets all of your stated objectives. Why, exactly, is that? Why are you in crisis now, when there was nothing to stop you from putting all of your ducks in a row in August if not sooner? You knew fully well that the Democrats couldn't keep you from ultimately passing a map. So why are you now on the verge of failure? Whose fault is that?

Anyway, something to look forward to when this mess winds up in court: According to the Quorum Report, four Texas Democratic members of Congress have joined the Texas House Democratic Caucus in filing amicus briefs in the case of Vieth v. Jubelirer, concerning whether a state legislature, in this case Pennsylvania, can redraw congressional districts so as to minimize the likelihood that a particular political party’s candidates will win in the election. From QR:

Reps. Martin Frost (D-Dallas), Chris Bell (D-Houston), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) and Nick Lampson (D-Beaumont) hope the court will set a new standard for partisan gerrymandering that would impact any new congressional plan passed by the Texas Legislature.

"The Pennsylvania case could become a very important issue," said Frost, leader of the Texas congressional delegation and a target for many Republicans in the current redistricting shake-up.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on December 10. Here's a summary of the Reform Institute's arguments, another group that has filed an amicus brief. This could be very interesting.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 04, 2003 to Killer D's | TrackBack