Republicans Just Want To Take Back Our Country... And Restore Liberty-- Texas Style
I know I'm in a minority on this because everyone is freaking out over Ryan's speech and Christie's speech and Ayn Romney's speech and McCain's war-cry and Romney's pathetic attempt to reinvent himself again but I really think the worst speech of the whole shebang-- and keep in mind I didn't really pay close attention, so grain-of-salt here-- was by Texas teabagger Ted Cruz. Aside from being a vaguely collected string of laughable cliches meant for a 6th grade civics class, Cruz, the Texas GOP's far, far right Senate candidate, a fanatic Cuban and, until he started the Senate campaign, the state's Solicitor General (an appointee of reactionary bigot Greg Abbott), tried to come up with a theme: "taking our country back" and "restoring liberty." The Texas Republican Party's idea of "taking our country back" and "restoring liberty" means thwarting the legitimate aspirations of minorities, in their case, primarily Mexican-Americans. (Not that Texas Republicans are the only hateful Republicans trying to restrict the constitutional rights of minorities. Florida's GOP might actually pass a cockamamie "Protect the Polls" law that allows random gun owners to shoot someone they think is trying to vote illegally.) But let's not stray from the Texas freak show, I'm sure if Florida passes a law like that, Texas will be next in line to pass it.
Yesterday Brad Friedman explained how a three judge federal court had just struck down a polling place Photo ID restriction law meant to prevent likely Democratic voters-- minorities, poor people, the elderly, students, urban dwellers-- from being able to vote.
That's exactly Ted Cruz's idea of "taking back our country" and "restoring liberty." But it hardly ends there. Mr. ex-Solicitor General was in on a radical redistricting plan to dilute Mexican-American voting strength as well-- and this week that was also struck down by a federal court. This time, though, it looks as though the Texas GOP was trying to get the law struck down in order to precipitate a Supreme Court ruling that could, if it goes their way, make voting more difficult for millions of Americans across the country-- and in a systemic way. What they want is for the Supreme Court to let the entire Old Confederacy out from under the restrictions of the Voting Rights Act that has kept them from preventing minorities from voting (Article 5-- which is, of course, what the old Confederate states,like Texas, used to always do before the VRA was passed. And they have just the corporately-owned, partisan Supreme Court to do just that). From the editorial in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram:
What's more, the court said lawmakers acted with discriminatory intent in crafting boundaries for congressional districts and Fort Worth's Senate District 10, represented by Democrat Wendy Davis.
Under the VRA, Texas must get any voting changes cleared by the Justice Department or a federal court. To receive that "preclearance," the state must show that it didn't diminish the electoral strength of racial, ethnic or language minorities or intentionally discriminate against them.
..."One would expect a state that is as experienced with VRA litigation as Texas to have ensured that its redistricting process was beyond reproach," wrote Judge Thomas Griffith, who was appointed by President George W. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.
"That Texas did not, and now fails to respond sufficiently to the parties' evidence of discriminatory intent, compels us to conclude that the Senate Plan was enacted with discriminatory purpose as to SD 10."
The judges rejected the state's arguments that the results were mere coincidence -- or at worst, in the state's words, "blithe indifference to the wants of certain [minority] Congressmen."
The court also pointed to testimony from state witnesses about manipulation in a West Texas district. High-voting Hispanic areas were switched out and low-turnout neighborhoods included, making the district more Republican-leaning without appearing to change the Hispanic population.
The state House map, the court said, abridged minority voting rights by eliminating four districts in which minorities had the ability to elect their chosen candidates but not offsetting those losses elsewhere.
The redistricting litigation has caused plenty of havoc, including a two-month delay in this year's party primaries and temporary maps adopted for the general elections. In fact, for November voting, SD 10 will look the same as in 2008.
But the stakes are rising.
Abbott tweeted that he would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and he issued a statement saying the appellate judges' decision "extends the Voting Rights Act beyond the limits intended by Congress and beyond the boundaries imposed by the Constitution."
Abbott's end-game almost from the beginning has been a Supreme Court ruling that strikes down the VRA's preclearance requirement.
Texas taxpayers almost certainly will be footing the bill for this constitutional fight into next year.
And this indeed is a perfect picture of Ted Cruz's and the Republican Party's idea of "taking back our country" and "restoring liberty."
Please login first in order for you to submit comments