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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Supreme Court overturns part of Texas redistricting

Most of the Texas congressional map redistricted with the help of former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, Sugarland, has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Only a small fraction of the map was thrown out, acknowledging that some of the new boundaries failed to protect minority voting rights.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy, pointed out that Hispanics do not have a chance to elect a candidate of their choosing under the current plan.

Boundaries will have to be adjusted to address the courts concerns.

Foes of the current plan argued that that was an unconstitutional, racial, gerrymander under the Voting Acts Rights.

Democratic nominee for Governor Chris Bell
responds to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn part of the redistricting suit.

“The Supreme Court’s decision clearly shows that Rick Perry and Tom DeLay’s actions were blatant violations of the Voting Rights Act and politically motivated power grabs against the Hispanic voting population in South Texas. Instead of fixing schools and health care in Texas, Rick Perry’s only accomplishment as Governor was to give Tom DeLay more power in Washington.

“The Court’s decision highlights the need for new leadership in Texas to bring communities together rather than drive them apart. We must protect the Voting Rights Act in Texas and the thousands of Hispanic voters in South Texas specifically targeted by Rick Perry and Tom DeLay’s redistricting plan.

"I strongly encourage Congress to renew the Voting Rights Act. It is imperative to protect the voting rights of all Americans against such unethical power grabs.”

More response from Dan Graney, former Stonewall Democrats Chair.

By Dan Graney
The long-awaited U.S. Supreme Court decision on the DeLay Redistricted Texas Congressional Map was finally issued today. Although the Court's decision leaves most of the DeLay-engineered map intact, it did throw out the redrawing of the District 23 boundaries (Henry Bonilla's district) because it violated the Voting Rights Act.

This most likely affect other districts adjoining District 23. The boundaries must be redrawn before the November elections and it will be up to afederal judge to do so. This is the good part of the decision. The bad part is that the Supremes said it was OK to redraw districts mid-decade, which means that we could have political chaos in the future when political party control of state legislatures shifts.

This was a 5-4 decision - majority opinion written by Anthony Kennedy.Stay tuned for how this will all be worked out – Ciro may have the chance to be the "comeback kid" after all! This will also boost Rick Bolanos' chances against Bonilla.

More response to the Redistricting controversy from around the state

J. Gerald Hebert, executive director of the Campaign Legal Center & Counsel for the Texas Congressional Democrats in the Texas Redistricting Lawsuits said, “Today’s decision show this was a challenge worth bringing.”

He went on to say, “this case was never about officeholders or incumbents, it wasn’t even about Democrats or Republicans. It was about protecting the voting rights of all Texans, particularly minority voters.

Former Congressman Martin Frost added, “It has been an important fight, and I am proud of the Texans who were willing to standup to Tom Delay, Rick Perry and the partisan Justice Department to protect voting rights.”

State Senator Leticia van de Putte said, “But the fight is not over. History shows that those who stop fighting for their rights lose them.” She also says, “There are those who want to chip away at our absolute right to vote, and if we stop fighting for it, they will prevail.”

State Rep. Jim Dunnam, stated, “It is immoral for Republicans to push a partisan agenda in violation of the Voting Rights Act, and the District Court should act immediately to ensure each and every Texan’s vote is counted this Fall.”

AUSTIN - Governor Rick Perry today issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision on Texas congressional redistricting:
“Today is a clear victory for our state as the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Texas’ redrawing of a gerrymandered map, and preserved the vast majority of the redrawn districts.

“The Supreme Court has ordered the three-judge panel to address the one district requiring further action, and we expect the panel to hold a hearing in the near future to address the timeline for the process. I will work with Attorney General Abbott in our state’s efforts to resolve this legal issue.”

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