Well, really, it’s not likely to have the same oomph as fire-breathing dragons, magic rings, and valkyries, but an election law blogger can hope, right? Today the big Texas redistricting trial kicks off with a bang.
When the Department of Justice intervened in Perez v. Perry et al., the pleading (bolstered by the evidence admitted in the Section 5 preclearance lawsuit that Texas had brought in the D.C. District Court) did a pretty good job of describing how the Texas Legislature showed discriminatory intent with respect to minority voting rights (see http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/sec_2/perez_intervention.pdf.) Of all the smoking guns, the most damning one is probably the November 17, 2010 email in which GOP attorney Eric Opiela asked for demographic data in order to pack and crack Hispanic voting districts (as summarized in this timely article from Salon Magazine, at http://www.salon.com/2014/07/14/texas_gops_secret_anti_hispanic_plot_smoking_gun_emails_revealed/ ).
What Opiela (as consigliere for the Texas GOP) needed was to identify swaths of low-turnout areas with high numbers of Hispanic-surname voters who could be safely appended to GOP districts, thereby sufficiently boosting the apparent minority representation in those districts without risking the possibility that minorities might actually carry those districts.
The strategies of packing and cracking are many and varied, and can include things like (1) careful placement of prison populations (counting disproportionately minority and voting age populations as if they could vote, despite legally barring those populations from voting), (2) wildly inventive gerrymandering (diluting urban minority voting blocks), and others.
As with other pending election litigation, I must give much thanks to Moritz College of Law and its wonderful election litigation reference materials, found at http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/index.php.