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Thread: Texas Redistricting Plan Thrown Out by Court

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    Texas Redistricting Plan Thrown Out by Court

    Texas attempted to get a summary judgment against the US Attorney's office, and have it's redistricting plan implemented immediately. They got a rude awakening instead, when the court ruled that the plan's purpose was to dilute the voting strength of minorities. The Texas redistricting map has been thrown out, and the new map will be drawn by the court system.

    Here is the actual decision from the court.
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    Re: Texas Redistricting Plan Thrown Out by Court

    wish DoJ would have been so attuned to the NC plan revising voter districts
    should have been rejected for the same reason as the tejas plan

    The suits come on the heels of the U.S. Justice Department's approval of the plans that redraw legislative and congressional voting districts for the next decade.
    Despite the Justice Department's action, state NAACP President William Barber said GOP mapmakers and their consultants "cut out the heart of black political power."
    as if the good ole boy republicans would consider doing that [/s]

    Lawsuits coming over voting districts | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper
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    Re: Texas Redistricting Plan Thrown Out by Court

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    Texas attempted to get a summary judgment against the US Attorney's office, and have it's redistricting plan implemented immediately. They got a rude awakening instead, when the court ruled that the plan's purpose was to dilute the voting strength of minorities. The Texas redistricting map has been thrown out, and the new map will be drawn by the court system.

    Here is the actual decision from the court.
    Politicians, special interest groups, political groups, judges should have no say in redistricting. It should be based on population and nothing else. I think they should make a computer that redistricts.Race,political affiliations, religious affiliations and other unimportant **** like that should not be taken into account when redistricting.
    "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear"

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    Re: Texas Redistricting Plan Thrown Out by Court

    GOP attempts at voter manipulation has been rampant as of late. I s'pose the Koch Brothers were unable to buy the Texas judges. The GOP sure has been a joke these days but their jokes are about as funny as a fart in an elevator. Palin, Perry, Bauchmann, Cain, Santorum.... will the insanity ever end? LOL!!!

    And people STILL support the GOP? Has insanity taken over the masses? WTF?

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    Re: Texas Redistricting Plan Thrown Out by Court

    So it's only ok when Northern states gerrymander their districts to concentrate minority voters?
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
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    Re: Texas Redistricting Plan Thrown Out by Court

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    Texas attempted to get a summary judgment against the US Attorney's office, and have it's redistricting plan implemented immediately. They got a rude awakening instead, when the court ruled that the plan's purpose was to dilute the voting strength of minorities.
    That's not quite right. They didn't specify whether they found that diluting the minority vote was the purpose or the effect of the plan. Either is illegal. Courts almost always focus on the effect since purpose is usually very hard to know.

    This decision is part of a long series of racial gerrymandering problems in Texas over the last 15 years or so. Basically, in the 80s, the Democrats ruled Texas, but that started shifting to Republicans. The Democrats had the majority in the legislature after the 1990 census, so they drew the map in a desperate attempt to hold on to power. It was very aggressively gerrymandered. In the next election 59% of the state voted for Republicans, but Republicans only got about 40% of the seats because it was so gerrymandered. So, in 2000 when the Republicans finally had a majority in the legislature they basically retaliated and gerrymandered the hell out of the state in the other direction. So far, that's all legal. Gerrymandering, even extreme retaliatory gerrymandering, is totally legal.

    But, there is a big legal problem. The hispanic population in Texas is rapidly increasing and as the GOP has managed to alienate hispanics, you have large pockets of the state that are potentially going to go back to the Democrats under the current already Republican gerrymandered map. So, in order to preserve the effectiveness of their gerrymander they need to split up the hispanic voters into predominantly white districts. So, for example, say you have a district that is 90% hispanic and it is surrounded by 3 districts that are 90% white, they would want to make it into 4 districts that were each of which is 30% hispanic, 70% white, so the hispanics would effectively not be able to get anybody they liked elected.

    But, the voting rights act forbids doing that. The clever gerrymanderers have been working feverishly to try to come up with ways to circumvent the rules. For example, you can't reduce the number of majority hispanic districts, so they're making districts that are like 50.01% hispanic, but where many of the hispanics are not citizens, so they can't vote. The courts aren't going to allow it though.

    Long story short, the Republicans can legally gerrymander all they like, but the one thing they can't do is break up minority groups into ineffectively small numbers.

    Black voters its a different story. The problem there is more complex. You have a lot of the black population moving from concentrated urban areas to suburbs, which makes it hard to preserve majority black districts, since they're all spread out. Last time the courts looked at that situation in Texas they found that the Republican's plan was ok. Not sure if the situation is the same this time though.

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    Re: Texas Redistricting Plan Thrown Out by Court

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    So it's only ok when Northern states gerrymander their districts to concentrate minority voters?
    The law actually REQUIRES you to gerrymander districts to concentrate minority voters. Sometimes that helps the Democrats, sometimes the Republicans. For example, maybe by not concentrating minorities you could have two 40% black districts that would both vote for a Democrat, but if you concentrate the black voters into one district, the other one would go Republican, so the Democrats would actually lose out because of the voting rights act in that scenario.

    It's a pretty messy set of rules, but there isn't necessarily a better way to do it either. If you don't have a law forbidding breaking up minorities into politically ineffective groups, the south has proven literally thousands of times that they will still do it today.

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    Re: Texas Redistricting Plan Thrown Out by Court

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    The law actually REQUIRES you to gerrymander districts to concentrate minority voters. Sometimes that helps the Democrats, sometimes the Republicans. For example, maybe by not concentrating minorities you could have two 40% black districts that would both vote for a Democrat, but if you concentrate the black voters into one district, the other one would go Republican, so the Democrats would actually lose out because of the voting rights act in that scenario.
    I'm aware.
    I think it's dumb and inherently unfair.

    A strictly computer generated, voting district map would end all this nonsense.

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    It's a pretty messy set of rules, but there isn't necessarily a better way to do it either. If you don't have a law forbidding breaking up minorities into politically ineffective groups, the south has proven literally thousands of times that they will still do it today.
    That's not true.
    Gerrymandering isn't about abusing minorities, it's about concentrating power for a political group.

    News to the world, the South doesn't hate black people.
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    Re: Texas Redistricting Plan Thrown Out by Court

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    A strictly computer generated, voting district map would end all this nonsense.
    Yeah... Maybe... That's one of those ideas I like in principle, but when you dig into the details it's trickier... Like some ways you can design a computer program dramatically tend to favor Republicans, other ways tend to dramatically favor Democrats. For example, Democrats tend to be more concentrated in cities. Some approaches computer programs use end up being way more favorable for the party that is more concentrated, some for the party that is less. Or maybe in key swing states Democrats tend to be more concentrated if you split the state up on east to west bands and Republicans if you split it up on north to south bands or whatever. A neutral sounding logic for how to split them up still has dramatic effects on election results, and the parties are very keenly aware of what those are, so picking a program is basically just gerrymandering all over again, but this time with a more complicated set of tools.

    I kind of think that ultimately we'll go the way of a computer program, but so far, it doesn't seem like anybody has really nailed what a fair computer program would be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    That's not true.
    Gerrymandering isn't about abusing minorities, it's about concentrating power for a political group.

    News to the world, the South doesn't hate black people.
    Well, it's a tricky issue, right? Trying to squeeze out Democrats so their votes don't really count in the south means trying to prevent the votes of black people from counting. Is the motivation hate for black people? No. Or at least mostly no. But still, we don't allow states to try to prevent minorities votes from being counted.

    When you look at the actual cases and maps, the things the south has the gumption to continually keep trying to this day are pretty shocking. For example, there is a case in the courts now about two cities in Georgia that just incorporated. They both have centers that are mostly black and white suburbs. So guess how they drew the city limits? Donuts around the black area with the black middle cut out. Meaning that very few of the black people would be able to vote for the mayor or city council for the city they live in... Now, are they thinking "man, I hate black people"? I dunno. Probably some are. Probably more are on some kind of halfway point where they are thinking they only want "responsible, upstanding, established, long term residents voting" or whatever, and that turns out to mostly correlate to "white people" in their heads. Maybe they are thinking they want the town to be more prosperous, so they want to include only better off areas. Trying to untangle that mess of motives to figure out what to do is nearly impossible. So we have to just look at the actual effects. And, especially given the history in the south, we just can't overlook changes that have the effect of screwing the black people out of voting.

    The courts and the legislature tried much, much, less intrusive standards for decades. More than 90 years actually, they just had vague standards saying that you couldn't intentionally discriminate against minorities in voting. Courts applied loose standards looking only for the most blatant stuff. But it didn't work. The south used literacy tests, at large districts, gerrymandering, poll taxes, "moral character tests", gerrymandering, etc, to effectively completely block all attempts for black people to participate in our democracy. For 90 years the courts and congress tried a wide variety of different ways to try to make sure that blacks had a meaningful ability to vote, but nothing worked. The southern states just kept coming up with new schemes, creating new discriminatory procedures right before the election so courts couldn't overturn them in time, etc. Eventually they just had to drop the hammer and force the south to cut it out. The voting rights act is what it took.

    Now, you can eventually get removed from the list of jurisdictions that is under the strict scrutiny of section 5 of the VRA. That's what this case is about- this jurisdiction in Texas is still held to the tough section 5 standard because of past discrimination. In order to get off the list, they need to go 10 years in a row without a court finding that they were discriminating with relation to voting. Hopefully they'll strive for that goal and get themselves off the list. But until then, IMO, we need to keep watching them pretty close.
    Last edited by teamosil; 11-10-11 at 05:41 PM.

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    Re: Texas Redistricting Plan Thrown Out by Court

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    Yeah... Maybe... That's one of those ideas I like in principle, but when you dig into the details it's trickier... Like some ways you can design a computer program dramatically tend to favor Republicans, other ways tend to dramatically favor Democrats. For example, Democrats tend to be more concentrated in cities. Some approaches computer programs use end up being way more favorable for the party that is more concentrated, some for the party that is less. Or maybe in key swing states Democrats tend to be more concentrated if you split the state up on east to west bands and Republicans if you split it up on north to south bands or whatever. A neutral sounding logic for how to split them up still has dramatic effects on election results, and the parties are very keenly aware of what those are, so picking a program is basically just gerrymandering all over again, but this time with a more complicated set of tools.

    I kind of think that ultimately we'll go the way of a computer program, but so far, it doesn't seem like anybody has really nailed what a fair computer program would be.
    These guys have a pretty good system.

    FairVote.org | Home


    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    Well, it's a tricky issue, right? Trying to squeeze out Democrats so their votes don't really count in the south means trying to prevent the votes of black people from counting. Is the motivation hate for black people? No. Or at least mostly no. But still, we don't allow states to try to prevent minorities votes from being counted.

    When you look at the actual cases and maps, the things the south has the gumption to continually keep trying to this day are pretty shocking. For example, there is a case in the courts now about two cities in Georgia that just incorporated. They both have centers that are mostly black and white suburbs. So guess how they drew the city limits? Donuts around the black area with the black middle cut out. Meaning that very few of the black people would be able to vote for the mayor or city council for the city they live in... Now, are they thinking "man, I hate black people"? I dunno. Probably some are. Probably more are on some kind of halfway point where they are thinking they only want "responsible, upstanding, established, long term residents voting" or whatever, and that turns out to mostly correlate to "white people" in their heads. Maybe they are thinking they want the town to be more prosperous, so they want to include only better off areas. Trying to untangle that mess of motives to figure out what to do is nearly impossible. So we have to just look at the actual effects. And, especially given the history in the south, we just can't overlook changes that have the effect of screwing the black people out of voting.

    The courts and the legislature tried much, much, less intrusive standards for decades. More than 90 years actually, they just had vague standards saying that you couldn't intentionally discriminate against minorities in voting. Courts applied loose standards looking only for the most blatant stuff. But it didn't work. The south used literacy tests, at large districts, gerrymandering, poll taxes, "moral character tests", gerrymandering, etc, to effectively completely block all attempts for black people to participate in our democracy. For 90 years the courts and congress tried a wide variety of different ways to try to make sure that blacks had a meaningful ability to vote, but nothing worked. The southern states just kept coming up with new schemes, creating new discriminatory procedures right before the election so courts couldn't overturn them in time, etc. Eventually they just had to drop the hammer and force the south to cut it out. The voting rights act is what it took.

    Now, you can eventually get removed from the list of jurisdictions that is under the strict scrutiny of section 5 of the VRA. That's what this case is about- this jurisdiction in Texas is still held to the tough section 5 standard because of past discrimination. In order to get off the list, they need to go 10 years in a row without a court finding that they were discriminating with relation to voting. Hopefully they'll strive for that goal and get themselves off the list. But until then, IMO, we need to keep watching them pretty close.
    Who wants to pay for policing the ****ty part of town, that's just being blunt.
    I'm more than sure that race has very little to do with it.

    Like I said before, it's ok for some, but not for others.
    It's cherry picking situations of legislative "discrimination."

    illinois-4th-district-map-Gerrymandering-300x224.jpg

    The rules should be applied to all states, not just southern states.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
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