Friday, February 03, 2006

Civil rights conference today

I'll be at the Friday Center today for a conference on redistricting and minority voters sponsored by the UNC Center for Civil Rights. Thanks to Ashley Osment for the invitation.


MORE: Keynoter Donna Brazile was wonderful. As someone who has done her fair share of gerrymandering, she is ready to throw the whole system out and start over. She wants redistricting reform, but only if it really includes voters from the bottom up. "Unless the system is open, fair, and equitable, citizens will not support it; in fact, they will run away."

She's not too confident in W. Although he said to her personally after Katrina that he would push for renewal of the Voting Rights Act, she noted he didn't mention it in the State of the Union.

Speaking about her D.C. neighborhood: When John Ashcroft moved down the street, I said, well, they stole it fair and square; he deserves a place to stay. But when Katherine Harris moved in, I said, Lord, what have I done to You? That Halloween I went as a chad, not a hanging chad, not a pregnant chad, but a mad chad.

Sam Hirsch, who represents the "Jackson plaintiffs" in the Texas redistricting case to be heard in the Supreme Court on March 1, gave a fine luncheon address. He shared his disapointment that the Department of Justice, earlier this week, filed an amicus brief on the side of the state of Texas. Great case; bad news if he loses.

texas redistricting
The vertical tan snake-like district at the bottom (Dist. 25) connects a block of Austin with a block of Laredo. The baby blue box in the north central region (Dist. 26) is mostly Republican suburban but reaches down to grab the blacks of southeast Fort Worth. The large purple area (Dist. 23) is represented by a Hispanic, Henry Bonilla, who has steadily lost the support of Hispanic voters: this is a Republican district. These are just a few of the issues on the table.

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