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Staffers at the Justice Dept. thought so. This was the infamous redistricting plan led by Tom Delay that chased Texas state Democrats out of the state on mulitple occasions. This is the one tied to the indictments Tom Delay is now facing. It seems the DOJ staffers thought the law violated the Voting Rights Act.
A previously undisclosed memo signed by six lawyers and two analysts suggested the staffers questioned the legality of the thing. Despite their opinions, senior officials signed off on the plan and it went through.
A bit of background: Most states don't need to undergo DOJ approval for their redistricting plans. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 said few select states, like Texas, have history of redistricting that is somewhat biased against minorities. Because of their history, the DOJ must approve all those redistricting plans. The Washington Post
The memo, unanimously endorsed by six lawyers and two analysts in the department's voting section, said the redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts. It also said the plan eliminated several other districts in which minorities had a substantial, though not necessarily decisive, influence in elections.
The story goes on to discuss accusations charging the plan diluted the strength of minority voters by eliminating the district of one rep who had high marks from minorities vs. the Republican who had minorities diluted to strengthen his position.
Naturally the Republicans are yelling it was fair because the DOJ signed off on it...sort of. There's probably enough new evidence, based on this 73-page memo from dated Dec. 12th, 2003. But based on the current fact Republicans control the DOJ, it probably won't be investigated. It'll be up to either the AG of Texas or individual citizens to bring this one up. Hopefully groups will move in to start the war.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement:
Thursday was marked as "Blog Against Racism" day and I guess I'm a little late. As a cynical friend once put it, "what hate people based on their skin color or ethnicity? There are too many reasons to hate them on an individual basis." I'd like to say I'm not a racist but many would argue that I can't help but be. I disagree with that.
In most cases, people have problems with things that are different than they are. They carry it to extremes. You could be too short, overweight, red hair, have big feet, have acne and the list goes on. As long as people look different, some type of prejudice will exist. As long as people think differently, prejudice will exist.
I've had an example in my family I will share. My sister is married to a man from Gabon in Africa. His first language was French. Many members of my family had a problem with it. Old social norms die hard. My grandfather took her picture down for a time before he died. My grandmother had problems although not quite as negative. Other's did too. My mother had problems but kept them quiet because she tried hard to overcome her own prejudices for her daughter and she did mostly. Unfortunately it's not ending well because a lot of factors worked against them. I decided though, when they got married, that I'd treat him as family as did my mother and others. I've not regretted it. The color of the skin doesn't matter so much to me. In the end, it's about character, of which we're all one.
It's just that in our society, people focus too much on trying to work factors they can't control instead of concentrating on ones they can.
posted by Stithmeister @ 9:35 PM
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I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
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