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Texas case suggests court may overhaul voting rights
The Washington Examiner ^ | 1-9-12 | Ken Klukowski

Posted on 01/10/2012 7:21:50 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic

Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement told U.S. Supreme Court justices Monday that lower federal courts cannot redraw state-approved election district maps unless they can point to concrete "identifying specific statutory or constitutional violations." Instead, Clement said during oral arguments on Perry v. Perez, two federal district judges have nullified the will of the people in Texas. The evident frustration of at least some of the Supreme Court justices suggests they agree with Gov. Rick Perry that state sovereignty must be restored.

Clement represented Perry and the state of Texas in an appeal of lower court decisions throwing out new congressional and state legislative election districts earlier this year.

Like every state, Texas redrew its legislative lines after the 2010 census as the U.S. Constitution requires. Groups unhappy with the new maps then sued, alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act.

In Texas, a three-judge federal district court heard arguments that the new map violates Section 2 of the VRA, which makes it illegal for states to enact voting changes with the purpose or effect of reducing racial minorities' voting strength.

The Lone Star State's congressional delegation has grown from 32 members to 36, thanks to population growth. Texas thus needs a map with 36 congressional districts.

The court held in a 2-1 decision that Texas' new map violates Section 2. So the federal court drew its own maps for the people of Texas -- assigning to them a completely different lineup of districts for the Texas legislature and Texas members of the U.S. House.

Supreme Court precedent makes clear that legislative redistricting is among the most delicate tasks state governments perform, balancing numerous political factors devoid of any legal principles courts can apply.

Yet two judges swept aside those admonitions, drawing districts out of whole cloth based on what they called "fairness" and the "collective public good."

They created what are called "minority coalition opportunity districts" in which a majority of the population is made up of the combined totals for blacks, Hispanics and other racial minorities.

The theory behind this wrongheaded stereotyping is that all minorities vote the same way, so, if they reside in the same district, they will elect a minority member as their preferred candidate.

Complicating matters, Texas is a "covered jurisdiction" under Section 5 of the VRA, meaning the state must get permission from Attorney General Eric Holder or the federal court in the District of Columbia before changing its districting lines. But D.C. has not cleared Texas' new maps.

So the Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on an expedited schedule in Perry v. Perez.

Clement faced off against the plaintiffs' lawyer, Jose Garza, and President Obama's Deputy Solicitor General Sri Srinvasan.

Texas' primary was scheduled for March (now April). Given its imminence, Clement argued if the legislature's maps have problems, they must be used as interim maps until being fixed, instead of judges inventing new maps. At a minimum, Texas should use all parts of the maps not at issue in court.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor cut him off, saying that Section 5 means the maps cannot be used for any purpose until they gain final approval.

At one point Monday, the court's proceedings became heated when, after Justice Stephen Breyer repeatedly interrupted Clement, Chief Justice John Roberts intervened to enable Clement to finish his answer.

The issues in this case echo Perry's campaign emphasis on federalism and the 10th Amendment. He argues that Texans should be able to decide how to draw their election districts without interference from Washington so long as they don't violate the Constitution or federal law.

Other VRA cases are headed toward the Supreme Court, so voting rights could become a major issue in the 2012 election. A decision in Perry v. Perez is expected within weeks.

Examiner

legal contributor Ken Klukowski is on faculty at Liberty University and on faculty with the American Civil Rights Union.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: courts; holder; redistricting; voting

1 posted on 01/10/2012 7:22:02 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Paul Clement is a busy man. He’s also defending DOMA against the Sodomite-in-Chief.


2 posted on 01/10/2012 7:24:11 AM PST by fwdude
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To: afraidfortherepublic
The only way to clean up this arbitrary mess lies in going to a verifiable random process routine.

Talk to a mathematician (like me). It can be done.

3 posted on 01/10/2012 7:29:10 AM PST by OldNavyVet
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Remember How You Felt Before Finding FR?

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4 posted on 01/10/2012 7:54:48 AM PST by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: OldNavyVet
The only way to clean up this arbitrary mess lies in going to a verifiable random process routine. Talk to a mathematician (like me). It can be done.

Not in this case.

Mathematics resolves unique solutions from multiple constraints.

Politics takes a resolved solution and fractures it into competing alternatives.

No way no how can the two disciplines help each other.

The supreme court justices can't even agree one which circuit courts should consider which conflicting sections of a law with an outdated purpose of protecting black voting rights being applied to hispanics, which are white and not historically repressed at the voting booth.

Nobody agrees that gerrymandering should be rejected, they merely agree that gerrymandering should only apply to further each parties conflicting goals. And there's not just two parties. There are d's, r's, black groups, hispanic groups, state govt turf, fed govt turf, etc.

While your proposal may seem ideal for a map case, the problem is that there are no constraints agreed upon to guide the selection of better or worse maps.

What they're doing here is simply waiting for the ultimate authority to carve out an arbitrary, final solution.

It will not make any sense either and the final reason your proposal fails is just that....your result might be fair, equitable and verifiable. That would disadvantage all of the power players, and so it is not a desirable political solution.

5 posted on 01/10/2012 8:33:01 AM PST by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
There is no way a three person panel should be able to make decisions on how to redistrict a state. It is both insane that they would rule on the redistricting and then REDISTRICT THEMSELVES. Who the hell do these federales think they are?

One of the reasons I supported Perry was that I saw him as the best person to understand and attempt to roll back the federal governments impingement on state and individual rights.

Admittedly, I may be wrong about that but I like the chances of someone from Texas taking on the feds rather than a Masshole.

6 posted on 01/10/2012 8:41:53 AM PST by johniegrad
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To: afraidfortherepublic

The SCOTUS mmay prove to be some counterweight to nobama, i.e. EPA and redistricting and potentially nobamacare.

I seem to remember a snippet from history lessons that the SCOTUS had similar counter effect against FDR’s rampant socialism.

On a larger scale maybe the Constitutional system does work, just that on the smaller scale the liberals are incermentalizing us to death.


7 posted on 01/10/2012 9:02:27 AM PST by X-spurt
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To: afraidfortherepublic; OldDeckHand; tired_old_conservative; Lurking Libertarian; JDW11235; ...
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

FReepmail me to subscribe to or unsubscribe from the SCOTUS ping list.

8 posted on 01/10/2012 9:36:26 AM PST by BuckeyeTexan (Man is not free unless government is limited. ~Ronald Reagan)
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To: shield

Ping to a little bit of Perry campaign info in the article.


9 posted on 01/10/2012 9:40:13 AM PST by BuckeyeTexan (Man is not free unless government is limited. ~Ronald Reagan)
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To: Jim Robinson

Ping to the daily stuff Perry’s been fighting for 10 years.

Walking the walk.


10 posted on 01/10/2012 9:53:38 AM PST by txhurl (Perry/Pence 2012 OR Perry/Ryan 2012 or even better Perry/Abbott 2012!)
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To: BuckeyeTexan; Cincinatus' Wife; jonrick46; deepbluesea; TexMom7; potlatch; SunkenCiv; wolfcreek; ...
Perry Ping....

IF you'd rather NOT be pinged FReepmail me.

IF you'd like to be added FReepmail me. Thanks.

11 posted on 01/10/2012 10:06:56 AM PST by shield (Rev 2:9 Woe unto those who say they are Judahites and are not, but are of the syna GOG ue of Satan.)
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12 posted on 01/10/2012 10:37:20 AM PST by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list)
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To: fwdude

States right? or Obama rights?

Go Perry.


13 posted on 01/10/2012 11:27:17 AM PST by altura (Perry 2012)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I live and vote in Texas.

Texas has made it illegal to write in one’s choice for a political office.

I suggest to the Court that the anti write in law is unconstitutional, because it restricts a voters freedom of choice.


14 posted on 01/10/2012 11:35:53 AM PST by Graewoulf (( obama"care" violates the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND is illegal by the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: Graewoulf

You mean that you don’t have the right to vote for Adolf Hitler, or Mickey Mouse? We get to do that in Wisconsin, and the votes get counted too!! It drives those of us who work the polls a little bit nuts on election night cause we have to copy each extra name onto a report to turn into the County. Grrrrr.


15 posted on 01/10/2012 11:54:55 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Graewoulf

You mean that you don’t have the right to vote for Adolf Hitler, or Mickey Mouse? We get to do that in Wisconsin, and the votes get counted too!! It drives those of us who work the polls a little bit nuts on election night cause we have to copy each extra name onto a report to turn into the County. Grrrrr.


16 posted on 01/10/2012 11:59:25 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: OldNavyVet; sam_paine
The ratio of reps/voters is about 1:700,000.

Get the ratio somewhere close to the 1:30,000 in our Constitution and all of the various rat victim groups along with regular Americans will be represented.

San Francisco will send a few freaks to Congress, and my rural area will send a good ‘ol boy. That is the sort of representation our Framers set up.

17 posted on 01/10/2012 12:02:34 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: Graewoulf

It is perfectly Constitutional. Review Article II Section 1 para 2.


18 posted on 01/10/2012 12:06:03 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: sam_paine
While your proposal may seem ideal for a map case, the problem is that there are no constraints agreed upon to guide the selection of better or worse maps.

Here’s a workable, but very-likely “unacceptable to established politicians” approach.

The politics in setting up congressional districts involves gerrymandering 435 districts , so looking for “workable” (see “non-workable” below) and randomized gerrymandering constraints involving roads, conjoined properties and some sort of "symmetry" involving 435 districts (covering the US citizen census count) across each of the 50 states – could be done.

“Non Workable” could be defined as a randomized plan subject to some significant -- and increasing -- percentage (5%, 10%, 20%, etc) of Americans objecting …within 30 days …. to a currently extant randomized plan.

As I said, I could do it … but ... established politicians, and their well connected, "happy", constituents; wouldn’t stand for it because every push of my Go button would come up with a totally unique solution.

But then ...

"Not everything needs to be fixed." -- Randy Pausch

19 posted on 01/10/2012 12:07:29 PM PST by OldNavyVet
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To: afraidfortherepublic

” - - - Grrrrr.”

No. I choose to vote for a Conservative, who will Impeach those who violate the US Constitution, cut Baseline Federal spending and shrink the size of the US Federal Government.

Since “both” Political Parties refuse to do ANY of the above, I want to write in a Candidate who is not on their rigged ballots.

I vote to get my Country back on track, in spite of “both” political parties.

I want the right to do so restored.


20 posted on 01/10/2012 12:09:53 PM PST by Graewoulf (( obama"care" violates the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND is illegal by the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: Graewoulf

I used to write in candidates all the time until I realized how much trouble it causes the electrion clerks. Now, I reserve my write-in privilege for targeted purposes. We almost knocked off 3 school board members in a write in campaign that was organized and accomplished in 2 weeks. Scared the daylights out of the school board. I didn’t mind tabulating those votes at all.


21 posted on 01/10/2012 12:17:14 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Jacquerie; OldNavyVet

Our founders had a big advantage over us.

They had the Atlantic ocean and 18th century communications incubating their experiments from the entrenched classes.

In our advanced stages of political disease, we’re pretty well hosed because the nearest federal court is just a few counties away from any vulnerable freedom or liberty.


22 posted on 01/10/2012 12:19:07 PM PST by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I see that you and I are on the same page after all.

Out here in West Texas we have two sorry Congressmen who abhor the idea of Impeaching Bolshevik Chairman Obama. Our TEA Party guy got knocked out by the Big Red RINO Machine, so I wanted to let our RINO know that he may have won the election, but we are not going away.

BTW, we’ve had 18 inches of snow this winter. What is your total snowfall now?


23 posted on 01/10/2012 12:35:48 PM PST by Graewoulf (( obama"care" violates the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND is illegal by the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: sam_paine

Yes, it is a sorry situation. Instead of securing our unalienable rights, our government suppresses them.


24 posted on 01/10/2012 1:28:42 PM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Justice Sonia Sotomayor cut him off, saying that Section 5 means the maps cannot be used for any purpose until they gain final approval. At one point Monday, the court's proceedings became heated when, after Justice Stephen Breyer repeatedly interrupted Clement, Chief Justice John Roberts intervened to enable Clement to finish his answer. The issues in this case echo Perry's campaign emphasis on federalism and the 10th Amendment. He argues that Texans should be able to decide how to draw their election districts without interference from Washington so long as they don't violate the Constitution or federal law. Other VRA cases are headed toward the Supreme Court, so voting rights could become a major issue in the 2012 election. A decision in Perry v. Perez is expected within weeks.

BUMP!

Thank you for the post.

25 posted on 01/10/2012 1:30:14 PM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Jacquerie

In order for government to biblically legitimate,
it must reward righteousness and punish wickedness.

This government is doing the opposite, and is therefore illegitimate.


26 posted on 01/10/2012 1:39:52 PM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: Graewoulf

But all you need as a candidate is 300 signatures to get on the ballot in Texas, (and maybe some fees) unlike the bozos in Virginia.


27 posted on 01/10/2012 2:47:46 PM PST by Apollo5600
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To: afraidfortherepublic

“two federal district judges have nullified the will of the people in Texas. . . . In Texas, a three-judge federal district court heard arguments that the new map violates Section 2 of the VRA, which makes it illegal for states to enact voting changes with the purpose or effect of reducing racial minorities’ voting strength. . . . The court held in a 2-1 decision that Texas’ new map violates Section 2. So the federal court drew its own maps for the people of Texas — assigning to them a completely different lineup of districts for the Texas legislature and Texas members of the U.S. House. . . . Yet two judges swept aside those admonitions, drawing districts out of whole cloth based on what they called “fairness” and the “collective public good.” They created what are called “minority coalition opportunity districts” in which a majority of the population is made up of the combined totals for blacks, Hispanics and other racial minorities.”

I think I read that one of the two federale judges who came up with their own ethnic gerrymandered districts was a Hispanic that had been recommended by Perry and picked by Bush.


28 posted on 01/10/2012 2:57:32 PM PST by SharpRightTurn ( White, black, and red all over--America's affirmative action, metrosexual president.)
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To: Graewoulf

I’m not sure that our snowfall in the Milwaukee area has been measureable this season. Less than 1/4 inch. There has been one slippery day this year, but the snow was gone by 9 AM. Supposed to change next week.

I didn’t even wear a coat to work today — just a big Irish sweater. But, I’m smart enough to have my coat in the car, just in case.

18 inches sounds like our regular winters.


29 posted on 01/10/2012 3:13:53 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Graewoulf
I wanted to let our RINO know that he may have won the election, but we are not going away

The problem with our write-in law in WI is that even though the election clerks have to record and tabulate all those write ins, nobody except the clerks ever know about them. They are never published in the newspaper (except when we staged the write ins to take over the school board.)

There are 2 kinds of write ins -- official (registered) and spontaneous. Both kinds have to be recorded and tabulated, but only "registered" write-ins have the opportunity to actually take office if they get the most votes.

Registered (official) write ins are used by people who did not file their papers within the time limit to be listed on the ballot. We are actually allowed to distribute stickers for people to put those names on their ballots (I'm waiting for the day that those stickers gum up the electronic ballot box!) To be an official registered write-in candidate you have to register with the election authority in your municipality, or district, that you intend to run for office as a write-in and will serve if elected.

Where are you in West TX? I used to live in the Houston area, and I cannot remember if I ever wrote in a candidate there. Probably did, because I used to do it a lot. That was 30 years ago. And that was before I realized how hard it made the job for the people working the polls.

30 posted on 01/10/2012 3:27:57 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Jacquerie

If we went back to such small Congressional districts, then there would be well over 10,000 congressman. You think it’s difficult for congress to work on anything now, try giving it the population of a large town. Even the parliament of India, the largest legislative body in the world, representing over a billion people, only has about 800 members.


31 posted on 01/10/2012 7:47:48 PM PST by JerseyanExile
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks shield.


32 posted on 01/10/2012 8:42:10 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Merry Christmas, Happy New Year! May 2013 be even Happier!)
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To: JerseyanExile
One of the first complaints of Anti-Federalists at the Ratifying Conventions of 1787-1789 was lack of assured representation in Congress. 1:30,000 was deemed adequate, but the Constitution specified “no more than” 1:30,000. We are well over ten times that number and suffer for it.

An aristocratic House of a few, out of touch members who use the perks of office to secure their lavish benefits was precisely what they feared, and is exactly what we have today.

33 posted on 01/11/2012 2:58:53 AM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

This is an example of why it is SO IMPORTANT for the GOP to take back the presidency. We don’t need another Kagan on the USSC or we are screwed.


34 posted on 01/17/2012 5:46:20 AM PST by MSF BU
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