Although many of you no doubt are already aware of these stories, I thought they deserved to be highlighted. The first is from Rick Hasen, and concerns the rather outré argument made by the State of Texas in its response brief in the voter picture I.D. case.
Taking a page from the legal scholars at Breitbart, Texas argues that the Department of Justice is, like, mean and stuff, and has been picking on Texas for partisan gain, not because the State repeatedly breaks the law. That’s not the surprising part. The surprising part is that this is the centerpiece of the State’s argument that the Department of Justice’s lawsuit should be thrown out. As Professor Hasen dryly notes, arguing that one’s opponent is motivated by politics is not a recognized affirmative defense to Voting Rights Act claims. The story is here: http://electionlawblog.org/?p=64248
The second story is an editorial by political reporter Charles Kuffner musing on the path that race-based redistricting took in Alabama, and how Republicans successfully isolated and marginalized African-American voters by targeting white Democrats for removal. That story is here: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=62179
The reason why I found the story interesting and troubling is that to some extent the plaintiffs in the Texas redistricting suit are working at cross-purposes, especially with respect to redistricting in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston area. Black congressional districts got more “efficient” (meaning that they are virtually guaranteed to go to candidates favored by black voters), but at the expense of turning all the other districts in the area more solidly Republican. Blacks didn’t lose any seats, but are likely to be alone and further marginalized as members of the Texas Congressional House delegation.
I agree with Mr. Kuffner that the potential for Alabama-style race-based redistricting succeeding as a tactic in Texas should rouse voters to make a smart change in state leadership this November.