Texas’s Republican-dominated legislature drew up electoral maps intended to weaken minority voting strengths. I make that assertion with some confidence, because correspondence was later found strongly indicating that that was the purpose of some decisions during the drawing of the maps. (A large portion of the population gain in Texas over the past decade before the 2010 Census was in Hispanics and African Americans, who typically vote for Democrats.)
Such racially biased redistricting is, unsurprisingly, a violation of the Voting Rights Act. A federal three-judge panel in San Antonio ruled it as such, and in light of the proximity of the Texas presidential primaries in April, drew up an interim map for 2012, intending to rectify the discrimination inherent in the Republican-drawn maps.
Today, according to AP, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the federal-court-drawn maps. They did not rule that Texas must return to the highly partisan maps drawn by the legislature (although Justice Clarence Thomas wanted to go that far), but rather left things in an undetermined state, ordering the three-judge federal court to come up with new maps… with primaries looming less than three months from now. You can well imagine what this does to individuals who want to run for office.
From the year 2000 forward, the Supreme Court has seen fit to meddle in how states run elections, an issue which constitutionally is the business of the states, not the federal government. But the Roberts Court is not an honest or unbiased body. From the moment they selected (sic) George W. Bush as president in the face of an incomplete counting of the votes in that election, it became clear that the Supreme Court would rule in favor of conservative candidates and parties, in defiance of the law and the vote if necessary… and they assumed, apparently correctly, that no one could stop them from doing so. And they didn’t bother to hide it: the unabashed dishonesty of the Court’s action is breathtaking.
We never quite achieved democracy in our slightly more than two centuries as a nation. But now the American people have virtually no say in their government, which is to all appearances run by “nine old men” (yes, I know, they include three women now, but five of the old men outweigh everyone else). Welcome to dystopia; enjoy your stay.