Lawmakers get jittery when it's time to redraw their political maps, and the exercise is based on a mix of power, party, clout, tenure — and trust. That last one is a fleeting quality in the Texas House right now.
After multiple court findings that Texas intentionally discriminated in drawing political maps and writing election laws, a panel of federal judges says the state won't be subjected to federal oversight under the Voting Rights Act.
The power of incumbency is more than raising money for campaigns and having a well-known political name. Changing the state's election laws — or even debating issues that resonate strongly with voters — can set the rules and frame the arguments for the next election cycle.
The nation's highest court says the political maps in Texas are legal, except for racial gerrymandering in one Fort Worth district. But the courts aren't going to fix that in time for this year's elections.
As the U.S. Supreme Court ponders a Texas redistricting case, a coalition of voting and civil rights groups is pushing to establish an independent commission in which citizens, rather than lawmakers, would draw the state’s political maps.