The SE Texas Record Oct. 29, 2012, 10:07pm

“No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree, but the safest way to make them respected is to make them respectable.”--Frederic Bastiat, political economist.  

One of the best ways to make the laws respectable in a democratic republic such as the United States is to have them enacted by a duly elected legislature in accord with state and national constitutions.

By contrast, having laws imposed by fiat by an unelected autocrat or tribunal is a surefire way to deprive them of the mantle of legitimacy and encourage disrespect.

Last year, the state legislature approved redistricting plans in response to the 2010 Census and the apportionment to Texas of four additional U.S. House seats. That should have been the end of it.

But a federal three-judge panel decided that the redistricting maps violate the federal Voting Rights Act and ruled against implementation.

What makes the decision of our state representatives -- doing what they were elected to do -- illegitimate? Why should the handiwork of three men wearing robes in Washington command more respect?

We don’t get it, and neither does State Attorney General Greg Abbott. He’s asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision of the three-judge panel.

Abbott charges that “the lower court improperly extended the Voting Rights Act beyond the limits imposed by the Constitution and created new standards that have never been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

According to Abbott, “The maps enacted by the Texas Legislature satisfy all necessary legal requirements, so the judges in Washington, D.C., simply created new requirements in an attempt to justify their rejection of Texas’ maps.”

If we want to live under the rule of law, rather than the rule of men, we must speak out against poorly reasoned decisions such as this one as soon as they occur. Otherwise, we will be saddled with more laws we are forced to obey without our consent.

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