March 04, 2007
Redistricting symposium

Sorry I missed this event on Friday.

The University of Texas School of Law will host a symposium on Friday, March 2, about the 2003 Congressional redistricting in Texas, which is also the focus of a new book by adjunct law professor Steve Bickerstaff.

Published this month by The University of Texas Press, Lines in the Sand: Congressional Redistricting in Texas and the Downfall of Tom DeLay is a comprehensive look at the efforts by Republican lawmakers in 2003--led by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay--to gerrymander Texas's 32 Congressional districts. The book also provides insights into the 2002 campaign activities that made the redistricting possible, and the civil and criminal court proceedings that followed.

The day-long symposium at the Law School's Eidman Courtroom--which is free and open to the public--features the book and the issues it raises, bringing together Bickerstaff with key players and observers in the Texas redistricting case, as well as a number of election law experts from across the nation.

I'll have to put a copy of the book (reviewed here) on my reading list. Based on these two reports from the Observer blog, it sounds like the event was worthwhile. One interesting point:

What was a tad surprising was the lawyers' agreement that Texas should reform the current system by putting a "low cap" on campaign contributions. The cap should be accompanied by a removal of the state's ban on corporate cash, they added. "It's not intuitively clear to me why it's okay for certain homebuilders and other individuals who are immensely wealthy to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to single candidates, but a corporation can't give a thousand dollars," said J.D. Pauerstein, referring to Bob Perry, election ATM of the rightwing. Pauerstein, who says that he's tired of being hit up for contributions, hopes that the limits would be small across the board.

The other lawyer referenced was Dick De Guerin, DeLay's defense attorney. Of course, corporations can give money to campaigns, but only for limited purposes, as we all know. I'd be perfectly happy with Pauerstein's proposed alternative, not that it'll ever happen. But it's still nice to see more people on board with the idea.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 04, 2007 to Killer D's