Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Back to the Drawing Board

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld all but one of the changes made back in 2003 to Texas' congressional districting map.
By a 5-4 vote, the court said the 23rd District in Southwest Texas, represented by Republican Henry Bonilla, was unconstitutional because its design violated the rights of some Hispanic voters. Reshaping the district, a task that apparently now is assigned to federal court in Texas, would force a change in at least one other neighboring district.

But the high court ruling preserved the other districts in the Houston area and elsewhere that were created by the Texas Legislature in 2003. This includes a Dallas-area district whose constitutionality was challenged by black voters.
The "one other neighboring district" that will likely require changes is the 25th District, represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett of Austin and which currently stretches from Austin to the Mexican border.

I found it interesting that the Houston Chronicle and the Austin-American Statesman seemed to look at the court's decision in two very different lights, as reflected by their headlines:

Chronicle: Most of Texas' redistricting map upheld
Statesman: Supreme Court throws out part of Texas congressional map

Both papers seemed to agree on one point, though: that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was the evil engineer behind the malevolent redistricting act. The Austin reporter spent almost a quarter of his article on the charges against DeLay, and seemed almost gleeful in his subtle reminder that the redistricting move "indirectly led to [DeLay's] political demise."

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