The only blog that can factually claim to shift the Bell Curve, along with the hearts & minds of America, to the right.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Supreme Court: Texas & Gitmo
Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld most of the congressional redistricting in Texas that netted the Republican Party 5 seats in the US Congress. It is good news for Republicans, but another reminder of biggest flaw in American politics.
Before the Republicans drew up the new districts, Democrats received 41% of the vote, but had 53% of the congressional seats (17-15). In the 2004 election, after the redistricting took place, the Republicans had 66% of the seats. So in actuality, the redistricting by Republicans was more fair and a more accurate representation of the people of Texas.
The odd thing is, most people are even talking about the real story here. How could 41% of the population ever hold 53% of the congressional seats for a state? The system is flawed, and everyone knows it. The idea that a politician can essentially choose his constituents instead of the other way around is creepy.
There are definitely better ways to elect members to the house. Take Texas for example. One idea would have you take 100% of the vote, and divide it by the 32 house members representing the state (3.125%). Then hold an election where you vote for a party. This forces parties to come up with distinct and forward-looking platforms. It would also allow for multiple third parties rather than the typical two party system.
Pipe dreams aside, there was another interesting aspect of this Supreme Court decision. This is from the LA Times : At the same time, Kennedy joined with the four liberal justices — John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer — to rule that one southwest Texas district was drawn illegally in a way that hurt Latino voters.
The Voting Rights Act of 1982 forbids officials from "diluting" the power of minority voting blocs, and Kennedy said Texas lawmakers violated that provision when they shifted 100,000 Latino voters to shore up the reelection prospects of Rep. Henry Bonilla, a Republican who has been unpopular with Latino voters.
The Times also says:
Legal experts and political strategists said the ruling would encourage Republicans in other GOP-dominated states to redraw their districts to gain more seats.
It is not clear whether Democrats will be able to do the same. In the ruling, the court emphasized that the Voting Rights Act generally forbade splitting up blocs of minority voters. That makes it harder to create more Democratic districts.
It seems that this decision may actually hurt Dems and minorities in the end. In another decision this week, the Supreme Court ruled in the favor of Salim Ahmed Hamdan (Osama’s driver). Just like the Texas case, the Supreme Court may have actually hurt the side that won. The Supreme Court apparently said that the US could hold the terrorists indefinitely, but couldn’t prosecute them in military tribunals. In other words, terrorists will still be in jail, they just won't have a chance at any trial...at least for now. Poor Ahmed. Stumble It!