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December 2, 2005

Using Political Hacks to Dismantle Voting Rights in Texas

Someone leaked a Justice Department memo to WaPo that clearly points out how illegal the redistricting of Texas House seats in 2003 was. Career employees figured out how messed up it was that Tom DeLay and his aides used back door politics to significantly change the redistricting map without oversight from the public. Further, the opinion of 8 career employees was overturned by a higher-ranking political hack. The Justice Dept decision that the redistricting did not violate the Voting Rights Act (created by the political hack) significantly bolstered the Texas Republican swindlers' case in court. The memo was not made public during the 3 judge review panel and only the Supreme Court can overturn the decision.

It's a complicated case, including the use of token minorities who don't represent the views of the larger minority population in their area:

The complexity of the arguments surrounding the Voting Rights Act is evident in the Justice Department memo, which focused particular attention on seats held in 2003 by a white Democrat, Martin Frost, and a Hispanic Republican, Henry Bonilla.

Voting data showed that Frost commanded great support from minority constituents, while Bonilla had relatively little support from Hispanics. The question to be considered by Justice Department lawyers was whether the new map was "retrogressive," because it diluted the power of minority voters to elect their candidate of choice. Under the adopted Texas plan, Frost's congressional district was dismantled, while the proportion of Hispanics in Bonilla's district dropped significantly. Those losses to black and Hispanic voters were not offset by other gains, the memo said.

I continue to be aghast at the blatant corruption within the Republican party. While I don't agree with the Democratic leadership on all issues, I still don't understand why people continue to believe there is no difference between a Republican and a Democrat. Furthermore, redistricting in general infuriates me. Whoever gets in power changes the maps to get their political cronies more seats. Political maps should be based on geographic communities, with an eye on insuring a political base for ethnic communities.

More info:
"Justice Staff Saw Texas Districting As Illegal: Voting Rights Finding On Map Pushed by DeLay Was Overruled," by Dan Eggen in WaPo

Posted by cj at December 2, 2005 8:11 AM


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