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SCOTUS Upholds Texas Redistricting w/ Caveat

The Supreme Court Of The United States today upheld a lower court ruling regarding the 2003 Texas congressional districts changes designed by Tom Delay and implemented by Texas Republicans. Read the ruling here on the SCOTUS website.

One of the interesting things I noted in the dissenting opinion on District 23 is this:

Of the individuals removed from District 23, 90 percent of those of voting age were Latinos, and 87 percentvoted for Democrats in 2002. Id., at 489. The District Court concluded that these individuals were removed because they voted for Democrats and against Bonilla, not because they were Latino.

This is important. One of the major claims was that this district was sliced and diced on the basis of race, not political affiliation or voting patterns. The majority opinion lays out the "so called Gingles requirements":

(1) the racial group is "suffi-ciently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district"; (2) the racial group is "politically cohesive"; and (3) the majority "vot[es] sufficiently as a bloc to enable it . . . usually to defeat the minority's preferred candidate." Johnson v. De Grandy, 512 U. S. 997, 1006-1007 (1994) (quoting Growe, 507 U. S., at 40 (in turn quoting Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 U. S. 30, 50-51 (1986))).

More after the jump ...

All of the opinions revolve on either arguments against or for meeting the Gingles requirements. The minority opinion from Scalia, Thomas, and Alito also argue:

JUSTICE KENNEDY’s discussion of appellants’ political-gerrymandering claims ably demonstrates that, yet again, no party or judge has put forth a judicially discernable standard by which to evaluate them. See ante, at 6–16. Unfortunately, the opinion then concludes that the appellants have failed to state a claim asto political gerrymandering, without ever articulating whatthe elements of such a claim consist of. That is not an available disposition of this appeal. We must either con-clude that the claim is nonjusticiable and dismiss it, or else set forth a standard and measure appellant’s claim against it. Vieth, supra, at 301. Instead, we again dispose of thisclaim in a way that provides no guidance to lower-court judges and perpetuates a cause of action with no discernible content. We should simply dismiss appellants’ claims as nonjusticiable.

Which is basically saying that there is no real way to determine if the claim is true or not, and therefore should be dismissed outright. They go on to say that since it wasn't dismissed, the ruling is worthles to lower-court judges, and allows a case to continue that should be immediately stopped. This is also important. This is what people are talking about when they say that judges are out of control, and rule beyond the basis of the law. Scalla's opinion here illuminates this idea here in full detail for the world to see.

This is a very important case, even for Americans ouside the 100k who the majority felt had their rights infringed. It's important for us all.

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