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BREAKING NEWS CNN: U.S. Supreme Court to review Republican-friendly Texas congression


heyholetsgogrant

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You now have boths sides of the HOUSE and SENATE backing up and saying:

Democrats: WOOOAH, hold on now, were going to need to do this in a couple of years.

Republicans: As long as they don't do mine, it's o.k....

Neither will be privately happy about this...

You are right about that. Both parties prefer to have maximum safe seats than truly contested elections.

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BREAKING NEWS: "Democrats lose White House, Senate and House of Representatives!!"

Thanks for the breaking news, we can all now sleep much better tonight :notworthy

Go away, troll.

It's obvious that you lack the ability to form independent political opinions. It's one thing to agree with a party because you agree with them; it's another to just defend every little thing they do, right or wrong.

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Go away, troll.

It's obvious that you lack the ability to form independent political opinions. It's one thing to agree with a party because you agree with them; it's another to just defend every little thing they do, right or wrong.

Not to be picky but (I WILL)..

To come into a thread and do nothing except attack another user is probably just as bad as you didnt bother to participate in the discussion. So as such you are just as guilty of being a distraction as opposed to an opinion.

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Any idea on what exactly is being argued?

Also, it's best to ignore trolls that respond with unrelated crap.

Basically, the questions posed by the four cases break down broadly into four general areas of inquiry: validity of partisan gerrymanders, treatment of minorities under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, constitutionality of drawing bizarre districts in dealing with minority voters, and number limits on creation of minority-controlled districts. The Court did not rewrite the questions, thus leaving some confusion in defining what it will decide. A decisive negative ruling on any of the four general areas, though, presumably could invalidate the 2003 Texas plan.

http://www.scotusblog.com/movabletype/

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Here is what this is about. The disturbing thing is that the redistricting of Texas had to be reviewed by the Justice Department. Everyone involved said that the redistricting was against the law. Someone at the top of the Justice Department overruled their own people. Now the Supreme Court will review it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/01/AR2005120101927.html

Justice Staff Saw Texas Districting As Illegal

Voting Rights Finding On Map Pushed by DeLay Was Overruled

By Dan Eggen

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, December 2, 2005; Page A01

Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay ® violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan.

The memo, unanimously endorsed by six lawyers and two analysts in the department's voting section, said the redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts. It also said the plan eliminated several other districts in which minorities had a substantial, though not necessarily decisive, influence in elections.

"The State of Texas has not met its burden in showing that the proposed congressional redistricting plan does not have a discriminatory effect," the memo concluded.

The memo also found that Republican lawmakers and state officials who helped craft the proposal were aware it posed a high risk of being ruled discriminatory compared with other options.

But the Texas legislature proceeded with the new map anyway because it would maximize the number of Republican federal lawmakers in the state, the memo said. The redistricting was approved in 2003, and Texas Republicans gained five seats in the U.S. House in the 2004 elections, solidifying GOP control of Congress.

J. Gerald "Gerry" Hebert, one of the lawyers representing Texas Democrats who are challenging the redistricting in court, said of the Justice Department's action: "We always felt that the process . . . wouldn't be corrupt, but it was. . . . The staff didn't see this as a close call or a mixed bag or anything like that. This should have been a very clear-cut case."

But Justice Department spokesman Eric W. Holland said the decision to approve the Texas plan was vindicated by a three-judge panel that rejected the Democratic challenge. The case is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The court ruled that, in fact, the new congressional plan created a sufficient number of safe minority districts given the demographics of the state and the requirements of the law," Holland said. He added that Texas now has three African Americans serving in Congress, up from two before the redistricting.

Texas Republicans also have maintained that the plan did not dilute minority votes and that the number of congressional districts with a majority of racial minorities remained unchanged at 11. The total number of congressional districts, however, grew from 30 to 32.

The 73-page memo, dated Dec. 12, 2003, has been kept under tight wraps for two years. Lawyers who worked on the case were subjected to an unusual gag rule. The memo was provided to The Post by a person connected to the case who is critical of the adopted redistricting map. Such recommendation memos, while not binding, historically carry great weight within the Justice Department.

Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Texas and other states with a history of discriminatory elections are required to submit changes in their voting systems or election maps for approval by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

The Texas case provides another example of conflict between political appointees and many of the division's career employees. In a separate case, The Post reported last month that a team was overruled when it recommended rejecting a controversial Georgia voter-identification program that was later struck down as unconstitutional by a court.

Mark Posner, a longtime Justice Department lawyer who now teaches law at American University, said it was "highly unusual" for political appointees to overrule a unanimous finding such as the one in the Texas case.

"In this kind of situation, where everybody agrees at least on the staff level . . . that is a very, very strong case," Posner said. "The fact that everybody agreed that there were reductions in minority voting strength, and that they were significant, raises a lot of questions as to why it was" approved, he said.

The Texas memo also provides new insight into the highly politicized environment surrounding that state's redistricting fight, which prompted Democratic state lawmakers to flee the state in hopes of derailing the plan. DeLay and his allies participated intensively as they pushed to redraw Texas's congressional boundaries and strengthen GOP control of the U.S. House.

DeLay, the former House majority leader, is fighting state felony counts of money laundering and conspiracy -- crimes he is charged with committing by unlawfully injecting corporate money into state elections. His campaign efforts were made in preparation for the new congressional map that was the focus of the Justice Department memo.

One of two DeLay aides also under indictment in the case, James W. Ellis, is cited in the Justice Department memo as pushing for the plan despite the risk that it would not receive "pre-clearance," or approval, from the department. Ellis and other DeLay aides successfully forced the adoption of their plan over two other versions passed by Texas legislators that would not have raised as many concerns about voting rights discrimination, the memo said.

"We need our map, which has been researched and vetted for months," Ellis wrote in an October 2003 document, according to the Justice Department memo. "The pre-clearance and political risks are the delegation's and we are willing to assume those risks, but only with our map."

Hebert said the Justice Department's approval of the redistricting plan, signed by Sheldon T. Bradshaw, principal deputy assistant attorney general, was valuable to Texas officials when they defended it in court. He called the internal Justice Department memo, which did not come out during the court case, "yet another indictment of Tom DeLay, because this memo shows conclusively that the map he produced violated the law."

DeLay spokesman Kevin Madden called Hebert's characterization "nonsensical political babble" and echoed the Justice Department in pointing to court rulings that have found no discriminatory impact on minority voters.

"Fair and reasonable arguments can be made in favor of the map's merits that also refute any notion that the plan is unfair or doesn't meet legal standards," Madden said. "Ultimately the court will decide whether the criticisms have any weight or validity."

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Not to be picky but (I WILL)..

To come into a thread and do nothing except attack another user is probably just as bad as you didnt bother to participate in the discussion. So as such you are just as guilty of being a distraction as opposed to an opinion.

Fair enough, although I know that you wouldn't be saying that if I wasn't a liberal.

If they're truly guilty of this, they should be impeached. Then sent to jail. An example needs to be made to show that even if you're in power, you can't manipulate the government to stay there.

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Is this connected with the Delay indictment? If so, will it affect his case?

Although the Delay indictment is related to the same effort to send more Texas Republicans to Washington, this review of the redistricting isn't connected directly to Delay's indictment.

It is very strange however that top Justice Department people ignored their own lawyers who had reviewed the redistricting in detail. Apparently that is not done very often. I doubt that the reasons for their decision will ever come out, but I wouldn't be surprised if Delay engineered it.

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Is this connected with the Delay indictment? If so, will it affect his case?

:laugh: Are you serious?

This is BS, the districts were drawn up ilegaly by the Dems ,then the courts,now by the Repubs...and now we go back to the courts to screw it up even more :rolleyes:

One question, Why is it legal to draw a district that practicaly guarantees a minority winner?

Are the Whites living in my district not being disenfranchised when lines are artificialy created to make a minority district?

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Not to be picky but (I WILL)..

To come into a thread and do nothing except attack another user is probably just as bad as you didnt bother to participate in the discussion. So as such you are just as guilty of being a distraction as opposed to an opinion.

AND YOU JUST DID THE SAME THING! AHAHAHAHA

(oh crap so did I!)

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Guest Gichin13

One question, Why is it legal to draw a district that practicaly guarantees a minority winner?

I agree with this. I guess the logic is that the question is whether the districts can be redrawn to dilute minority voting rights. Particularly in the South, that has been a legit problem in the past.

Ideally, we would like to evolve past this being the definition. I personally agree with what Thiebear proposed before that redistricting should be strictly and technically tied to population shifts in the census and as apolitical as possible.

Having actual contested races would be good for everyone. It would force greater governmental accountability and responsiveness to the public will, factors that are currently lacking in large part.

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I agree with this. I guess the logic is that the question is whether the districts can be redrawn to dilute minority voting rights. Particularly in the South, that has been a legit problem in the past.

Ideally, we would like to evolve past this being the definition. I personally agree with what Thiebear proposed before that redistricting should be strictly and technically tied to population shifts in the census and as apolitical as possible.

Having actual contested races would be good for everyone. It would force greater governmental accountability and responsiveness to the public will, factors that are currently lacking in large part.

Totally agree, this crap has been going on for too long (since time immemorial). Of couse this has somehow turned into a political issue, but as long as we all agree that Gerrymandering is a huge hurdle in the way of a well-functioning government, I do not mind the barbs. Come on Supreme Court, do not screw this up!

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I agree with this. I guess the logic is that the question is whether the districts can be redrawn to dilute minority voting rights. Particularly in the South, that has been a legit problem in the past.

Ideally, we would like to evolve past this being the definition. I personally agree with what Thiebear proposed before that redistricting should be strictly and technically tied to population shifts in the census and as apolitical as possible.

Having actual contested races would be good for everyone. It would force greater governmental accountability and responsiveness to the public will, factors that are currently lacking in large part.

The Supreme Court also agrees with this. Every majority-minority districting case that made it to the Supreme Court during Clinton's Presidency resulted in the plan being struck down: Shaw v. Reno, Miller v. Johnson, and Bush v. Vera all overturned Democratic attempts to redraw district lines to favor minorities.

So twa, it is not legal to draw up a district solely to help a minority candidate win. The standard the Supreme Court has used is that "the plaintiffs must prove that other, legitimate districting principles were subordinated to race. By that, we mean that race must be the predominant factor motivating the legislature’s redistricting decision." Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952 (1996).

The standard for minority vote dilution is similar, applied according to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: "No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision in a manner which results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color." The Court generally compares the challenged policy with "a reasonable alternative practice as a benchmark against which to measure the existing voting practice." Holder v. Hall, 512 U.S. 874 (1994).

It will be interesting to see how this case turns out. The race-based districting cases have generally turned on O'Connor's vote, but I don't really see things changing too much in that area. The question is whether Roberts and Alito are more willing to venture into the arena of political gerrymandering, which is an area that the traditional conservatives on the Court (O'Connor and Rehnquist included) seemed reluctant to touch.

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Gerrymander Slander

Democrats cry foul on Texas redistricting.

On the question of minority voting rights, neither Republicans nor Democrats are covered in glory. In the latest chapter, House Democrats, led by California’s Nancy Pelosi, have gone ballistic over a leaked Department of Justice memorandum which concluded that the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act. Pelosi has called for an independent inquiry into “the contemptible politicization of the Justice Department to rubberstamp Congressman Tom DeLay's illegal redistricting scheme”

Illegal? Gee, we thought that when a federal three-judge panel decided after a lengthy trial that the plan was constitutional, that also meant it was “legal.”

No matter. The Washington Post breathlessly reported last week that in 2003 the recommendations of a team of Department of Justice career bureaucrats were rejected by the head of the civil-rights division and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft — implying that the final word on the implementation of federal voting-rights law should be that of staff, not the attorney general. The team’s 73-page memo concluded the Texas plan “quite plainly” reduced “minority voting strength” in violation of the pre-clearance provision of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain states (Texas among them) to show that electoral changes are not discriminatory either in purpose or effect. “Effect” has long been defined as any reduction in the number of majority-minority districts in a revised map.

Actually, though, what Pelosi and others are upset about is not that minority voters in Texas lost power under the new plan — they didn’t — but rather that the 2003 redistricting plan bumped off four white Democrats and replaced them with Republicans. That sounds like redistricting business as usual to us: After the 1990 census, Texas Democrats had drawn an equally gerrymandered map. In other states — such as Maryland — Democrats remain in control and Republicans have lost congressional seats. Nobody has called the process in Maryland “illegal” or demanded a special inquiry. That Texas (unlike Maryland) is “covered” by the Voting Rights Act has given Democrats in the Lone Star State an excuse to use the statute to camouflage what are, in fact, partisan charges.

In the case of Texas, it is a pretty flimsy excuse. Minority voting strength was not, in fact, reduced as a consequence of the new districting lines. Under the old map, Texas sent two black representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives, one from Houston, the other from Dallas. The new plan added a third black district, and raised the number of majority Hispanic districts from seven to eight.

The Texas case is just the latest example of DOJ career lawyers run amok. For the last twenty years, the voting section staff has racked up a slew of embarrassing mistakes, a number of which had to be rectified by the U.S. Supreme Court. These mistakes ranged from approving plans that were later found to be illegal to disapproving ones later found to be perfectly legal. But a consistent thread runs through the decisions of the voting section: the conviction that only minority officeholders properly represent minority voters, and that racial and ethnic proportional representation (by the crude tool of redistricting) is both a matter of high principle and an entitlement under the Voting Rights Act.

The Supreme Court took the voting section to the woodshed a decade ago, citing the pressure it put on certain states to adopt race-driven districting maps drawn by the ACLU. Pelosi and others have complained that the Justice Department has been politicized. Apparently, working hand-in-glove with the ACLU, MALDEF, and other such advocacy groups — of which there is an extensive and indisputable record — did not constitute “contemptible politicization of the Justice Department.” That’s a charge that the Washington Post and the New York Times (editorially) will only air when Republicans run the civil-rights shop at DOJ.

We are happy to concede that the pre-clearance provision of the Voting Rights Act has become a partisan gerrymandering tool that has been used by both parties to further their electoral interests. All the more reason to question the continuing need for that temporary, emergency provision 35 years after it was initially scheduled to expire. But almost no one in Congress is questioning it, and most observers believe the provision will be renewed once again — for another 25 years.

Both Democrats and Republicans — for different reasons — like the safe minority seats that race-driven plans create, and already the Republican leadership, including the White House, has signed on to renewal. A few courageous and principled GOP House freshmen like Georgia’s Lynn Westmoreland and Texas’s Ted Poe have begun to question the wisdom of keeping their states under the thumb of Washington bureaucrats, but so far, they seem quite alone.

Almost no Republicans are profiles in courage when it comes to race-conscious public policy. But those in Congress who think racial gerrymandering is just fine should take note: This phony scandal is emblematic of the dangerous waters in which they choose to tread. The pre-clearance provision was essential in 1965. In a racially changed America, it is no longer necessary, and the racial and partisan ends for which it is used are not in their interest — or that of the public. Unless the Republicans want another 25 years of such phony scandals, they should let the provision expire.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/thernstrom_blum200512060821.asp

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Fair enough, although I know that you wouldn't be saying that if I wasn't a liberal.

If they're truly guilty of this, they should be impeached. Then sent to jail. An example needs to be made to show that even if you're in power, you can't manipulate the government to stay there.

LOL i've done the same to Nelms... And both parties have used and abused the Census to try this.. And BOTH should be stopped.

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Link?

You left off part of the statement :rolleyes:

But here:

http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/pubspol/redguide01.htm#1991%20Redistricting%20History

During 1991, suits were filed in state district court and federal district court asserting voting rights complaints against the adopted house and senate redistricting plans and against the as yet unmodified SBOE and congressional plans. After two special sessions (August 1991 and January 1992) and numerous legal actions, the 1992 house and senate elections were ultimately conducted under court-ordered plans that changed 37 of the 150 house districts and 30 of the 31 senate districts that had been adopted by the legislature during the regular session. The 1992 congressional and SBOE elections were held under the plans passed by the legislature in the August 1991 special session.

:2cents:

Why not cut out the BS and simply divide by communities,citys or areas?

There is no logical reason for districts to wind around and carve out areas piecemeal ( in my case carving out six blocks and joining it to a community across the friggen channel) :doh:

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