Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Redistricting Watch: SCOTUS Grabs the Ball

I return from hibernation this morning just to comment briefly on some events from yesterday. The Supreme Court agreed to hear four separate challenges to Tom DeLay's 2003 Texas redistricting shenanigans, accepting the cases on a rare expedited basis. The Court will hear two hours of argument (instead of the usual one hour) in March, and then hopefully will be able to issue a decision prior to the end of its current term in late June.

One of the constitutional questions at issue is the legality of so-called "mid-decade" redistricting - allowing partisan politicians to redraw legislative boundaries any time the majority changes in the state legislature. Until recently, district lines were only re-drafted each ten years, after new census data (as they should be, in my most humble of opinions).

This case will be one of the most important the Court hears and decides this term. If they allow or express support for partisan mid-decade redistricting plans the gerrymander's continued reign is all but assured unless reform legislation is passed (that legislation should be passed regardless of the Court's decision). Their findings on the vital concept of "one man, one vote" will also be incredibly important as we move forward. I am absolutely delighted that they've decided to hear this case, and while the outcome is obviously in serious question, I hope that at the very least this will make the redistricting issue even slightly more salient to the silent majority out there.

For some excellent coverage of the Court's decision to hear these cases, see Warren Richey in the CSM, Linda Greenhouse in the NYT, and Jonathan Weisman in the WaPo.

For previous Redistricting Watch posts, click here.


At 10:27 AM, Blogger Lanky_Bastard said...

Gerrymandering every 10 years is better than gerrymandering every time a majority changes, but it doesn't change the reality of gerrymandering.


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