Updated 09/03/2012 12:29 PM
On the Agenda: Texas rebuffed in court, will racial poison continue in Lege?
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Last week’s National Republican convention confirmed two new superstars.
Ann Romney hit a home run with one of the most authentic speeches of the hurricane-shortened event., and Florida senator Marco Rubio rescued Mitt Romney from Clint Eastwood with a truly powerful introduction of Republican presidential candidate.
But while most press eyes were focused on Tampa, two separate federal courts delivered stinging rebukes to our Texas Legislature. One three-judge panel unanimously found that the Legislature intentionally discriminated against minorities when it drew the congressional, Texas Senate and Texas House maps.
An entirely different three-judge panel said Texas intentionally discriminated against minorities in the way it designed its photo voter ID bill.
Now, no one here is naïve. Redistricting is about the party in power consolidating power and in that respect, Republicans did a fine job. But a three judge panel found that in doing so, they crossed multiple lines and intentionally tried to prevent minorities from having the impact in elections their population growth had earned.
And even if you believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that there is some kind pervasive voter impersonation at the polls that needs to be remedied, three different federal judges also unanimously agreed that the Texas legislature not only went out of its way to impose undue burdens on minorities to vote, the Legislature also deliberately rejected amendments that would have allowed the bill to pass judicial muster.
Attorney General Greg Abbott says he will appeal and the process will continue playing out.
But what concerns me is not the fate of any one law, it the increasingly racial nature of arguments in the Texas Legislature and the unerring ability of the majority to consistently pick the most racially poisonous policy choice.
This is the last decade of white domination of the ballot box and the legislative process in Texas. What worries me is the racial debate in our Legislature is increasingly bitter and unyielding. The laws of physics often apply in politics. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and in politics, memories are long.
Texas politics and government are rarely what they seem. Join
publisher Harvey Kronberg every Monday as he shares the stories behind the stories in
. Kronberg has covered the Capitol for more than 20 years, and he knows where to find the scoop.