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Court throws out Texas redistricting plans

Court throws out Texas redistricting plans

A three judge panel in D.C. has thrown out all Texas redistricing maps which were subject to challenge by the DOJ.  It’s a monster 154-page decision, embedded below, so it will take time to figure out what was done to which districts.

Because Texas is a covered jurisdiction under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1973, the Attorney General of the United States or a three-judge panel of this Court must approve, or “preclear,” any redistricting plan before it can take effect. Id. § 1973c(a). Texas chose not to seek administrative preclearance and instead seeks from this Court a declaratory judgment that its redistricting plans will neither have “the purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, or [language minority group].” Id. The United States opposes preclearance of the redistricting plans for Texas’s congressional delegation and the State House of Representatives, but has no quarrel with the plan for the Texas Senate. Seven Intervenors raise a variety of challenges that collectively encompass all three plans. We conclude that Texas has failed to show that any of the redistricting plans merits preclearance.

Update – If I’m reading this correctly, there is no remedy imposed by the Court. National Journal notes the following:

This year’s elections are proceeding under different, interim maps developed by a separate federal court in San Antonio. Those maps will remain in place until, barring appeal, Texas will be forced to once again redraw their election maps prior to the 2014 elections.

The politics appear to be that the new, more favorable to GOP maps are on hold and will not even take effect in 2014 unless there is a reversal, via Dallas Morning News:

The redistricting battle for this election had already been decided, but this legal wrangling could have an effect on the next elections.

Texas Republican leaders want a map drawn by the Legislature last year to take effect, as it would give the GOP a bounty of seats. Democrats say the maps don’t reflect that the state’s population growth, which gained Texas four new U.S. House seats after the latest Census, was driven by booming populations of minorities, who tend to vote strongly Democratic.

More analysis at Election Law Blog.

Texas v U.S. – Decision on Redistricting 8-28-2012


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It is long past time to get rid of the VRA altogether. There hasn’t been any denial of voting rights in years – except the black Democrats in Mississippi who tried to disenfranchise whites.

For at least the last 30 years, VRA has functioned merely as the Democrat Protection Act in the South.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Estragon. | August 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Fu*k it. Time to secede.

    Stop us this time.

      I’m with ya on this one Trooper. We’ve been fed that sh*t sandwich that Col. West was talking about the other day. Ever since Teh Won took office there has been an all-out assault on this State. The EPA has been trying to shut down drilling and any other method of extracting fossil fuels because of some stupid lizard and supposed particles coming out of our coal plants that will magically land in IL. At least we’ve won a couple battles. This is ridiculous with the VRA. As others have pointed out here, we’re getting hammered by the same party that caused the mess in the first place. I don’t want to come across as some of the crackpots out there who cite obscure laws passed over 150 years ago that have been slammed down tim after time, but it’s time to look at our options.

    Ragspierre in reply to Estragon. | August 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    But remember, Holder went to court to block even a Black community from doing what it wished according to the law, and he used the VRA to do it.

    Conservative Beaner in reply to Estragon. | August 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    It sucks. The reason for the VRA is due to the problems caused by Democrats before the civil rights movement. Now the law is ued to stop the GOP from gerrymandering which Dems used to gain power after up until the 1970’s.

    AmandaFitz in reply to Estragon. | August 28, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    How the heck do we get rid of this 47 (FORTY-SEVEN!!!!) year old law? Or, at least this section?

    Did you know that the reason the Governor of Texas is such a weak position is because local leaders KNEW that the carpetbaggers who swarmed into the state after the Civil War would stack the deck, thus they made the governorship a weak position.

    I am sick and tired of the political manipulations of the Democrats- anyone who thinks that Lyndon Johnson passed the legislation he did because he was a man of conscience, don’t know Lyndon Johnson. All those dead people voting in Duvall County were his kind of voters!

Are we taking bets on if SCOTUS finally decides to use this as a vehicle to strike down section 5 altogether?

TrooperJohnSmith | August 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

War on Women?

Obama’s War on Texas has everything except an invading army, unless you count the one’s allowed to cross our southern border, apparently with the tacit approval of the Obama Administration and its ‘Just Us’ Department.

Funny how elections matter.

    Speaking of which: if you know anyone that’s thinking of voting Libertarian this year or that would probably vote against Obama but might stay home for some daffy reason (like an evangelical that doesn’t like Mormons), just remind them of two things:

    Kagan. Sotomayor.

    Elections have serious consequences.

    With all the damage Obama has done to our economy, those two SCOTUS picks are likely to be his principle legacy.

      AmandaFitz in reply to Aarradin. | August 28, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      Tell those Libertarians to go see “2016: Obama’s America.” It IS a shocker.

      As a libertarian I agree with you. I held my nose and voted for McCain in 2008 – that was the first time I ever voted for either a Republican or a Democrat in a presidential election and one of the rare times (including state and local elections) that I’ve voted for a major party.

      This election is too important.

        As a conservative I also held my nose and voted for McCain.

        Funny world, no?

          It certainly is. I was intrigued by the run for president by Pete DuPont in 1988 and Steve Forbes in 2000. I would have gladly voted for them. If Jack Kemp had kept his focus instead of becoming a water-carrier for Dole I might have voted for them in 1996.

          Freedom is too important. Obama and the Progressive Caucus have to be defeated or, at the very least, “contained”.

How quaint that we think if only we have elections and vote conservatives into office that we’ll be allowed to redraw our districts like the libtards do every time they get the chance. Heh heh… the joke is on us. How long before us voters lose all faith in “the system” and push for tearing it all down?

was driven by booming populations of minorities, who tend to vote strongly Democratic stupid.

If the Courts want to reject the lines drawn by the Texas Congress, which is fully informed on the demographics of each districts population, perhaps we could start by redrawing the lines of Shiela Jackson Lee’s district which is primarily minority and most certainly disenfranchises white voters.

The beauty part of this is that Lloyd Doggett’s district was redrawn, and since he is up for election again in 2014, it will be a thing of beauty to watch him defeated in the primaries by a Hispanic from south of Austin. (trying to look at the up side here)

The problem is that Texas is now a minority-majority state where whites are the true minority, compared to a combination of black/Hispanic voters. Since Section V was designed to aid in the voting of minorities, then surely we need to get rid of Section V since it will now be whites that are disenfranchised. A 50 year old law that is archaic as it is wrong.

Now the Romney bunch is trying to change the rules at the convention so that delegates will no longer be chosen at the grass roots level. This too is wrong, and the revolt against it is being lead by (tah-dah) the Texas delegation.

Texas again leading the way to liberty.

I’m not at all surprised by this decision and am somewhat pleased that they will have to do it right. In-your-face gerrymandering should never be tolerated.

I’m a victim of this scheme in that for all of my time spent in the greater Austin area, I have been represented by the most liberal spendthrift Lloyd Doggett. There has never been a spending bill that he couldn’t resist, sanctuary cities that he wouldn punish, amnesty that should not be granted and it just goes on and on and on…

A few months ago I moved to another congressional district in Austin but you know what, that plan that the Republicans drew up transferred Doggett as well. Worse, this new Doggett district extends in a wormlike form from Austin down to the valley right through San Antonio. Needless to say, I amm pleased that today’s court decision provides the opportunity to get it right since the decision did not impose a solution.

If anyone doubts my analysis, just look up the “temporary” re-districting schemes and I think that any doubt will be removed…

Why hasn’t Holder and the DoJ sued Maryland for its redistricting map? It looks like a bunch of coiled snakes. Note: Maryland is a deep blue state whose state and local governments are controlled by liberal democrats.