AP is reporting today:
The Supreme Court said Monday it would consider the constitutionality of a Texas congressional map engineered by Rep. Tom DeLay that helped Republicans gain seats in Congress. The 2003 boundaries helped Republicans win 21 of the state's 32 seats in Congress in the last election_ up from 15. They were approved amid a nasty battle between Republican leaders and Democrats and minority groups in Texas. The contentiousness also reached Washington, where the Justice Department approved the plan although staff lawyers concluded that it diluted minority voting rights. Because of past discrimination against minority voters, Texas is required to get Justice Department approval for any voting changes to ensure they don't undercut minority voting.
Justices will consider a constitutional challenge to the boundaries filed by various opponents. The court will hear two hours of arguments, likely in April, in four separate appeals.
The legal battle at the Supreme Court was over the unusual timing of the Texas redistricting, among other things. Under the Constitution, states must adjust their congressional district lines every 10 years to account for population shifts.
But in Texas the boundaries were redrawn twice after the 2000 census, first by a court, then by state lawmakers in a second round promoted by DeLay.
DeLay had to step down as House Majority Leader earlier this year after he was indicted in Texas on state money laundering charges.
Related Story in the JFP: Haley's Unholy Alliance
Delay et al. have definitely had a bad few days. Associated Press:
A judge dismissed a conspiracy charge Monday against Rep. Tom DeLay but refused to throw out the far more serious allegations of money-laundering, dashing the congressman's immediate hopes of reclaiming his House majority leader post and increasing the likelihood of a criminal trial next year.
Judge Pat Priest, who presides over DeLay's case, issued the ruling after a hearing late last month in which DeLay's attorney argued that the indictment was fatally flawed. The ruling means DeLay's case will move toward a trial next year, although his attorneys still have motions pending to get the case dismissed on other grounds.
The judge's decision came shortly before DeLay arrived at a Houston fundraiser for his re-election campaign in which Vice President Dick Cheney was the featured speaker. DeLay declined to speak to reporters as he entered the hotel.
A CNN-USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday showed that DeLay's political standing has weakened considerably in his home district around Houston.
The survey found that 49 percent of registered voters questioned said they would were more likely to vote for a Democratic challenger than for DeLay in 2006, and 36 percent said they would be more likely to vote for DeLay. Former Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson plans to challenge DeLay in the 2006 elections.
The survey also found that 55 percent of registered voters said that the charges that DeLay broke campaign finance laws are definitely or probably true, while 34 percent said they were probably or definitely not true.
When he was indicted in September, DeLay was required under House rules to relinquish the leadership post he had held since 2003. While Monday's ruling was a partial victory for DeLay, he cannot reclaim his post because he remains under indictment.
All of this couldn't have happened to a better person. :)
- golden eagle