If you heard it said once, you'll hear it said again: DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS!
By Eddie Griffin
In the year that Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States, we caught the wind of emancipation on his coattail, and lifted ourselves from the dregs of political oppression and economic tyranny, by pulling off one of the greatest upsets in Texas red history.
We voted out one of the good ole boys in the state Senate, by the name of Kim Brimer, a man who had represented our community in Austin for years, but whose face we had never seen. Against him, we sent a would-be giant killer, in the person of a sweet and meek city councilwoman named Wendy Davis.
After a bruising campaign fight and a marginal win in the 2008 elections, Wendy Davis took Senate District 10 like Grant took Vicksburg. Afterwards, she immediately became the butt of good ole boy jokes in the Texas Senate.
Gov. Rick Perry called Ms. Davis a “little girl”; and, after she forced the state legislature into overtime special session with her filibuster over education funding, Perry derided her as a pesky “showboat”.
The euphoria of liberation was jeopardized at birth. Almost immediately, the counterattack began, and culminated with a redistricting scheme that sliced and diced Wendy’s base of support until her district resembled a T-Bone pork chop, with all the minority districts carved out from around the bone, leaving her with nothing but the bone.
Wasn't this discriminatory gerrymandering? Didn't this scheme violate the 1964 Voting Rights Act?
Gov. Rick Perry and Texas AG Gregg Abbott literally wagged their fingers in our face and dared us to go to court.
There was a time when all seemed well, with the 2000 census recorded, political boundaries set, and electoral seats rightly apportioned, we would not have need for another redistricting plan until 2010. But then Majority Leader Tom DeLay concocted a mid-census redistricting plan.
In December 2005, the Washington Post reported, "Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay violated the Voting Rights". (source)
Tom DeLay is now serving prison time, the ill-gotten gains from the 2003 plan were never rectified or corrected, nor could it have been possible after elected officials were seated in office.
It was against this backdrop and history that Wendy Davis was faced with the dilemma of taking the redistricting fight to court. In the meantime, it was apparent that the GOP strong arm tactic was not a simply aimed at running roughshod over SD 10, but a greater aspiration against President Barack Obama. In a state's rights shot across the bough, the Gov. Rick Perry threatened to secede from the Union, as if the slaves of Texas would sit idly by. Nevertheless, the ploy boosted Perry's national profile in his own run for presidency.
The pesky little girl from Senate District 10 was forced to fend for her turf and defend our voting right. Therefore, Wendy Davis filed suit. And in the irony of ignorance, the state Attorney General of Texas, Greg Abbott, used the same argument as before: Allow the state to use the legislature's map for the 2012 elections; and if anything is amiss, then it could be corrected later.
Not so, this time, said the district court.
Had the matter centered only on the newly drawn district, maybe the courts would have bought into the state's plan. But what happened to Senate District 10 was so stark and egregious that the court took the unprecedented initiative to overstep its legal bounds by redrawing the state map, to be favor minority communities, thus putting life back into our dead hopes.
Frantically, the governor and attorney general appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, in Perry v. Davis, more like Goliath v. Davis.
Surely, the U.S. Supreme Court would lay this issue to rest, and declare the Voting Rights Act of 1964 as unconstitutional. That is what the Texas AG would have hoped for. But SCOTUS chose not to tackle the constitutional issue, and remanded the case to the district court for reconsideration.
With the GOP primaries coming on, the Texas AG made a critical mistake. Getting a few minority organizations to sign off on a compromise was not going to wash with other minority groups, and the district courts was not buying it. Something had to give; otherwise, Texas would completely miss out on the GOP presidential primaries.
Like the big fish that bit off more than it could chew, the GOP had to spit out Senate District 10.
Davis: Deal to preserve her state Senate district is 'a tremendous victory'
Posted Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012
BY AMAN BATHEJA
State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, claimed a major political and legal victory Wednesday in the battles over the state's political maps, and a federal judge told Texas officials to prepare for May 29 primary elections, weeks later than April 3, the current date.
The later date threatens to relegate Texas to an afterthought in the Republican presidential primaries. The state was once poised to play a decisive role in the GOP campaign.
When the Texas primaries are finally held, Davis will be running in the district boundaries that were in place when she ousted Republican Sen. Kim Brimer in 2008. State leaders agreed Wednesday to leave the district unchanged for the 2012 elections... (Complete Story)