01 March 2006

The Texas Gerrymander

New York Times Editorial - 3.01.06

The redrawing of election districts in Texas in 2003, which Tom DeLay helped engineer to make the state's Congressional delegation more Republican, lands in the Supreme Court today. Democrats are asking the court to rule that the plan is unconstitutional and violates the Voting Rights Act. The court should strike down the plan. It should also use the case to set limits on this kind of politically motivated drawing of districts by both parties, a practice that is making voters increasingly irrelevant.

Texas's 2003 redistricting was an extreme case of partisan gerrymandering. The state's Congressional lines had already been redrawn once, after the 2000 census, producing additional Republican seats in a way that a federal court decided was fair. But when Republicans took control of the state government, they decided to do a highly unusual second redistricting. Democratic state legislators protested and fled the state to deny the Republicans a quorum. But Texas eventually adopted a plan that tilted the state's delegation even further in the Republicans' favor.


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