Thursday, March 02, 2006

reredistricting is unconstitutional

In my opinion, it goes against the spirit and word of the 13th and 14th amendments, plus against all that Madison and company talked about in the Federalist papers.

However, after reading reports from election law experts who attended the oral arguments of the Texas reredistricting case, it seems that the Justices were leaning in the following directions [according to UCLA's Rick Hansen and OSU's Ned Foley]:

"1. No majority to find a partisan gerrymander (under equal protection, First Amendment, or any other clause of the Constitution) ---apparently this leaves Vieth in place [one of the least helpful opinions since Furman v. Georgia], because it does not appear that Justice Kennedy was signalling he's ready to vote for nonjusticiablity distinguish between a statewide gerrymandering claim and the distric-specific claims that Stevens was interested in... for more read here

"2. No majority to hold that mid-decade redistricting violates one person, one vote because of the failure to use updated census data.

"3. No majority to find a Shaw violation (maybe that gets only Justice Kennedy's vote)." Some find Thomas' silence "intriguing" while I find it wholly unsurprising for a me-too judge. Ginsburg and Alito were also silent, but she fell asleep at the end of arguments and Alito is probably not wanting to make a big splash. It was hard to read CJ Roberts views since he has tough questions both ways.

"4. A possible majority to hold that one or two districts violates section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, but no majority to hold that coalitional or influence disticts count for section 2 purposes (and a possible majority to affirmatively reject that stand)." Most commenters thought this was a far fetched possibility. Sounds like Orals did not go well for the petitioners.

In a few years, when state after state reredistricts whenever there is a change of hands in the state house, the US House will change hands since the party divide in this county is pretty narrow (since I believe the 15 seat edge the GOP have will sigificantly deminish after 2006, if not turn into a deficit). Maybe the unintended consequence of this will be de facto term limits, or maybe the Congress will turn into California's legislature, where there is barely any institutional memory and choas abounds. Maybe then congress will get off their duffs and redistrict themselves in a fair fashion...or they will just protect themselves as much as possible.

As things stand, every 10 years, candidates pick their voters, instead of every two years the voters pick their representative, as the constitution mandates.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ye almighty [Republican] Executive

Isn't it sad that the minute the White House changes party hands, the Republican congress change their tune completely? How many inquiries did we have to the silly messups of the Clinton White House? How many grand inquisitors did Congress hire for that (3)?

Yet those same folks phone in their questioning and document requests and hearings. Folks like my Senator Orin Hatch ask softballs to administration officials when they are appointed by Republicans, but when hired by Democrats, he is all over them.

Now you can say partisan politics is corrupting both sides and copy and paste that into a "moderate" washingtonian column. But reality is that if Democrats were in control of congress and the presidency, the two branches would still eat each other alive (see 1992-1994).

Monday, February 27, 2006

McCelland Democrats

Digby's right, bloggers aren't extreme in the ideological sense, they are extreme in the tactic sense.

We are tired of being asked for more troops (money) without any more action (aggressive challenges) against the Rebels (extremist Republicans). The DC pundits and consultants seem to be afriad of their own shadows.

Bush's approval rating is at 34%, an all time low. The port deal is starting to smell more and more of cronyism. For the first time ever, more of the public believes Congressional Democrats, not Bush, have their best security interests at heart. Democrats lead by fairly large margins in generic ballot tests. Democrats are poised to pick up the majority of the governorships in the country, especially in the key swingable states of Ohio and Arkansas (and possibily Florida). Race by race polls show that if the election were held today, Democrats would have 49-50 seats in the senate, and make similarlly large gains in the House.

Now is not a time for timidity, now is a time for boldness. While the GOP is divided and weak, Democrats need to strike. They need to put out a platform that shows what we are for at the end the summer (launching a nationwide campaign starting labor day).

We need more Grants, and less McCellands.