March 01, 2006

Previews of Texas Redistricting Case/Commentaries

Roll Call offers Ruling Could Jolt House Races (paid subscription required), which begins: "With the balance of power on Capitol Hill potentially at stake, the Supreme Court today will hear a challenge to the 2003 remap of Texas House districts engineered by Rep. Tom DeLay (R), which resulted in a 12-seat swing in the Republicans’ favor in the 2004 elections. If the court finds for the plaintiffs and immediately throws out a map that transformed Texas from a 17-15 Democratic majority in House seats to a 21-11 minority, Democrats, who now need to win 15 Republican seats to take over the House, could see that margin cut to as few as eight." In the article, Ned Foley essentially calls the issue a toss-up for the Court (though saying "we're most likely to get a narrow ruling that's directed at this mid-decade phenomenon"), while Nate Persily predicts that the Court: "will come out with a narrow opinion saying that mid-decade gerrymanders that are solely justified as an effort to maximize partisan gain are unconstitutional." Perhaps. Only Justice Kennedy knows for sure.

In other coverage, Bloomberg News offers DeLay's Texas Voting Map Raises Partisanship Issue. NPR offers this audio report. The New York Times offers this editorial, and Roll Call offers this editorial. Ed Blum and Roger Clegg offer their thoughts at National Review Online. See also here. My own views on how the Court should resolve the Texas case are here. Later today, Ned Foley should have a report from oral argument here.

Posted by Rick Hasen at March 1, 2006 07:50 AM