In a closely watched decision, the Supreme Court upheld the vast majority of Tom DeLay's infamous re-redistricting of the state's congressional map on June 28th. While the Court conceded that one of the Congressional districts needed to be redrawn as it violated the rights of Hispanic voters there, it rejected the larger claim that the Texas Republicans had unconstitutionally engaged in partisan gerrymandering. In doing so, the high court punted the issue back to Congress and the political process -- but the courts never were likely to take the kind of dramatic steps that truly would address the problems associated with partisan redistricting.
Justice Anthony Kennedy declared that the plaintiffs had not “given shape to a reliable standard for identifying unconstitutional political gerrymanders”ï¿½ -- meaning none will likely ever be found. We need the political will to create solutions in the public interest for how to draw district lines, and how to regulate mid-decade redistricting. That effort should start with a drive in Congress to set standards for mid-decennial redistricting and ultimately end with proportional voting.