As I write this, the Federal 3-judge panel in San Antonio has just released a preliminary interim Congressional map, and has just released it’s final ordered interim maps for the state House and Senate.
Republican reaction to the maps released so far has been scathing and instant. They are shocked – SHOCKED – that “activist federal judges” would go so far.
It’s both amusing and sad to watch the Republican gnashing of teeth in reaction to the court’s maps. The Voting Rights Act to which Texas must adhere should be no surprise – it was enacted in the 1960′s. The system of judicial review is not new either. What seems to be new is the Republican arrogance that they can draw anything they want, mowing down any group of voters who oppose them, and expect rubber stamps from the folks charged with reviewing the maps for legality.
The judicial panel, made up of two Republicans and one Democrat, didn’t step in to help Democrats, or hurt Republicans. Neither did the Republican Federal panel in the D.C. circuit which precipitated the San Antonio panel drawing the interim maps. The federal courts stepped in to enforce the Voting Rights Act, to ensure that the rights of minority Texans are protected.
That so many in the Republican political establishment consider that to be terrible news is precisely why so many minority Texans reject Republican candidates for office.
If the Texas Republicans in charge didn’t work so hard full-time to alienate minority Texans, they would have nothing to fear in asking minority Texans for their votes come election time. Their preferred option, however, is to divide those minority voters and make their opinions meaningless. Thankfully, the court has reminded us this week that it is illegal.
Minorities are almost single-handedly responsible for Texas’ population growth. It’s time for Republicans to man-up and recognize their moral obligation to be responsive to the concerns of these dynamic and fast-growing communities.
Until they do, they will continue to be hammered at the polls by the voters whose voices they tried to silence.