Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

In other news there is concern in certain quarters that the Supremes today did not tell state legislatures to stop trying to reapportion minorities and Democrats out of existence, as they should have done.  To which I say:  "Meh!"

It's an 8-0 decision with two concurring opinions that didn't draw enough interest to get anyone else on the bench to join.  Is it any surprise Alito and Thomas couldn't sit quietly and let Notorious RBG speak for them?  Is there any doubt Antonin Scalia is not coming back to the bench reincarnated as the next Court appointee?  And yes, the Court could decide next time that some plan drawn to Alito's liking is suddenly something the whole Court can go along with, but how likely is that to happen?

Not very, according to the legal experts:

“The court went as far as it possibly could go in casting a pall on the possible idea of challenging this again with an alternative method of counting,” said Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, on a press call with reporters Monday. She and others pointed to a footnote in Ginsburg’s opinion that suggested she doubted it would even be possible to draw districts the way the challengers were advocating without ignoring other traditional redistricting principles.

“That language very firmly closes the door on the idea that trying to [use] something other than total population is a good idea,” Nina Perales, the vice president of litigation at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said on the same press call.
And please to note this is not a case of Texas trying the plaintiff's crackpot idea of redistricting, but of Texas defending the status quo.  Next time around, if there is one, will require a state trying this crackpot theory by using it to redistrict just so there can be another Supreme Court case.  Yes, there's a history (after 40 years of post Roe clamor) of states passing anti-abortion laws as tests, but redistricting for fun and profit?  Not on this theory.

“There’s certainly people who will try to make the argument and see if any legislature will bite,” said Michael Li, counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, a non-partisan organization that defends voting rights. “States really have chosen to do total population for a lot of good reasons, both the political consequences and that the data is much much better.”
So which state is going to cry "Fruit basket turnover!" and leave it's redistricting subject to federal court review for several years just to please the proponents of this particular legal theory?  Yeah, it could happen; but is it really something to worry about?

The bigger problem with the Court is when it does something positive, rather than something negative.  Anyone remember Brown v. Board?  A unanimous decision of the Warren Court which is today more honored in the breach than in the keeping, which in fact is almost perfectly moribund and our schools look more like they did in 1954 today than they did in 1971, when the black schools in my hometown were closed.

Segregation, however, is no longer the new shiny thing, so we move on, call it "progress," and ignore what was once the most significant Court ruling in U.S. history; and so it dies.  By all means, let's worry about what the lawyers for the plaintiffs who just lost a lawsuit by a shut out, said; because that "war" may not be over.  But the war on racism?  What racism?  We got rid of that.  Only racists are concerned with racism now.


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