Redistricting Latinos in Tom Delay’s Illegal Money Laundering

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Tom Delay has been convicted of money laundering and as soon as it happened, he did not miss the chance to try to turn the tables on the justice system, playing the victim by claiming that he’s somehow being persecuted because of the discriminatory redistricting he did to dilute the Latino vote in Texas.  Via Fox [Republican] News:

DeLay contended the charges against him were a political vendetta by Ronnie Earle, the former Democratic Travis County district attorney who originally brought the case and is now retired.

Lehmberg, who replaced Earle, said the trial was not about criminalizing politics.

“This was about holding public officials accountable, that no one is above the law and all persons have to abide by the law, no matter how powerful or lofty the position he or she might hold,” she said.

Craig McDonald, the director of Texans for Public Justice, a liberal watchdog group whose complaints with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office helped lead to the investigation of DeLay’s PAC, said he was pleased by the verdict.

“We can’t undo the 2002 election, but a jury wisely acted to hold DeLay accountable for conspiring to steal it.”

The 2005 criminal charges in Texas, as well as a separate federal investigation of DeLay’s ties to disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, ended his 22-year political career representing suburban Houston. The Justice Department probe into DeLay’s ties to Abramoff ended without any charges filed against DeLay.

So what is Delay talking about?  In case people forgot, Delay rammed through a controversial plan to suppress the vote of many minorities in Texas, including Latinos, all to favor the election of right-wing conservative Republicans.  The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) challenged Tom Delay’s redistricting plan and the Supreme Court in 2005 agreed to hear the case; LULAC basically argued:

LULAC filed a lawsuit challenging the Texas legislature’s redistricting plan, which was spearheaded by former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, on the grounds that it violated the Voting Rights Act of the Latino community in Texas.

LULAC has an unyielding policy that justice should not be blinded at the expense of American citizens. Decisions by political officials should be based on legal facts that protect the interests of all Americans, particularly disadvantaged minority groups. The redistricting plan is retrogressive and if not overturned will roll back Latino political gains in Texas.

“We’re elated to know that we still have another opportunity to challenge what we consider to be a blatant, illegal and partisan maneuver to weaken the Hispanic and black vote,” said Hector Flores, national president of LULAC. “However, we remain appalled at the political gerrymandering that occurred in 2003 and the conscious effort by political appointees to divert justice by overriding the recommendations of those most knowledgeable in the field of the voting rights law.”

Flores continued: “The disingenuous promoters of the redistricting plan have made no secret of the fact that this is a flagrant attempt to increase their numbers in Congress at the expense of the voting rights of the Latino community in Texas. Attempting to gloss over these partisan motivations with dubious claims of increased Hispanic representation is offensive, misleading and cynical.”

Career attorneys from the Justice Department ruled that the plan illegally diluted the Hispanic and black voting power in two congressional districts, as well as eliminate several other districts in which minorities had a substantial influence in elections. After political appointees overruled six lawyers and two analysts from the Justice Department, the plan passed through the Legislature and shifted the partisan balance in the state’s congressional delegation from a 17-15 Democratic majority to a 21-11 Republican majority after the 2004 elections. This decision resulted in Texas Republicans gaining five seats in the U.S. House in the 2004 elections and solidifying GOP control of Congress.

In June of 2006, the conservative-leaning Supreme Court, led by conservative Justice Roberts, upheld Tom Delay’s plan; as reported by The Washington Post:

The Supreme Court upheld most of Texas’s Republican-drafted 2003 congressional redistricting plan yesterday in a ruling that could prompt majority parties in other states to redraw political maps to their advantage.

The endorsement of the plan, which former House majority leader Tom DeLay crafted to tilt Texas’s congressional delegation to the GOP, was not absolute. By a vote of 5 to 4, the court ruled that a sprawling West Texas district represented by Henry Bonilla (R) violates the Voting Rights Act because it diluted the voting power of Latinos.

One of the aftermath effects of the 2010 midterm elections will be felt in the upcoming redistricting efforts affecting congressional boundaries across the nation.  On this regard, many have warned that the redistricting process will once again be used as a voter suppression tactic with the goal of diluting the Latino vote to either slow its growth or to dilute it further because it has proven to be deathly to the tea party movement.  Election fraud tactics like voter suppression will keep on coming folks; we need to be vigilant and ready to fight back!