The mess that is the redistricting battle in Texas took one small step toward resolution this week. Lawyers from the Texas attorney general’s office and those representing minority groups met Friday to try and hammer out a settlement on how to draw the state’s electoral maps in a serious push to reach a compromise that would keep the state’s primary set for April 3rd.
The battle over the state’s electoral maps has volleyed between a San Antonio federal court and another in Washington which is trying to determine whether the congressional districts drawn by the GOP-controlled Legislature violates the Voting Rights Act. Closing arguments in the federal challenge are scheduled for Tuesday.
The San Antonio court had previously drawn interim maps but those maps were thrown out by the Supreme Court which ruled the San Antonio court failed to give enough deference to the map created by the Legislature and adjusted parts of the map where there was no Voting Rights Act argument.
A settlement on the maps would be a good thing for a lot of reasons. For starters, Republicans need to learn how to govern without overreach, and a settlement now would reinforce that message. Second, congressional districts drawn by parties with a stake in those districts and forced to compromise on those stakes will tilt toward fairness, or at least the appearance of such, compared to maps drawn by the courts.
Finally, the issue in all of these redistricting battles is to what extent are Republicans able to suppress minority votes. The premise alone should be repugnant to conservatives and liberals alike, but if it is not, a settlement will force those same factions who set out to disenfranchise American citizens for their own short-term political gain to deal with the fact by ceding the power they so desperately tried to snatch.
Photo from hjl via flickr.