"Jurimandering" by federal judges in San Antonio finally ends

The SE Texas Record Mar. 6, 2012, 8:00am

When a dominant political party goes to extreme lengths to redraw a state's electoral map so as to perpetuate or extend its dominance, members of the opposing party – and citizens with a keen sense of fairness – usually protest.

But a certain of amount of self-interest is to be expected. The dominant party is under no obligation to redistrict in its rival's favor. That, literally, would be self-defeating.

Nevertheless, blatant gerrymandering is offensive when legislators engage in it -- and even more so when judges resort to it.

Call it "jurimandering," the misuse of judicial power to reject the redistricting dutifully done by legislators in favor of dream districts drawn up by non-elected judges, usually to the benefit of the party out of power.

Federal judges in San Antonio engaged in "jurimandering" when they rejected the electoral maps drawn up by our duly elected legislators and attempted to force upon the citizens of Texas a State House map of their design, which just happened to create three additional Democratic districts.

Fortunately, State Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed the dubious decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ordered the meddlesome judges to try again.

Lo and behold, the revised version of the first revision bears a striking resemblance to the original maps drawn by the legislature.

Abbott described the new maps as "a substantial improvement over the maps previously issued by the San Antonio court."

Emphasizing that "the original maps drawn by the Texas Legislature were fair and legal," Gov. Rick Perry lamented the fallout from the federal court's folly.

"As the Supreme Court has agreed, the federal court in San Antonio overstepped its boundaries when it took it upon itself to draw new maps," Perry said. "Had the federal court done it correctly to begin with, the time, costs, and inconvenience to our state could have been avoided, and we would be having our elections on schedule."

In other words, the judges should have stuck to judging – and left the legislating to legislators.

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