Alex's Outlook

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Texas redistricting survives yet another hurdle

The Republicans' battle to lock up the House of Representatives until 2012 seems to have survived its most crucial test. A Republican-heavy federal court determined that the Democrats "failed to prove" that the redistricting plan violated minority voting rights. As a result, the Texas congressional delegation (tied 16-16 between Republicans and Democrats) will probably swing 23-9 in favor of the Republicans. Maybe a couple of crafy conservative Democrats will survive, but it would be tough. This is the first time Texas Democrats have been on the receiving end of the redistricting gun.

There are about 25 seats in the country that can be called somewhat competitive. The Republicans should enjoy a 20-vote majority in the House after this redistricting bout, which means that barring a liberal tsunami the Democrats won't have the House until (possibly) after the next round of redistricting in 2012. No new taxes until 2012!

The Democrats plan to appeal to the Supreme Court. I would be really surprised to see the Supremes take the case, because it's so partisan and the Court is notoriously averse to partisan political cases (e.g. the Democrats' last-minute replacement of Bob Toricelli, who was losing big time, with Frank Lautenberg in the 2002 NJ Senate race). If the Supremes did take the case, I think they'd rule in the GOP's favor.

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