Monday, May 16, 2011

Bobby Harrison of the Daily Journal opines on The Waiting, and what it may mean for Republicans

I'm going to start referring to the span of time between last week's hearing in the redistricting case of NAACP v. Haley Barbour, et al and the moment the Order comes down as "The Waiting". This period of time has created intense speculation, sleepless nights, and worry on all sides. It's as if the anxiety common amongst supporters awaiting election night returns has been drawn out over the course of a week.

Bobby Harrison of the Daily Journal chimed in yesterday on what he believes the 5 days without an order means for Republicans:
Barbour and the state Party are advocating that the judges select an expert to draw districts. But time is running out to draw new districts.
But the longer they wait to rule, the more likely it appears the judges will have legislators run in the current districts or under the House and Senate plans approved by each chamber during the 2011 session.

I think Harrison's right on this point, but I also think Gov. Barbour and the MSGOP lost this fight back on April 29, 2011, when the three judge panel announced its disfavor for drawing new lines themselves. It certainly appeared to most observers at the hearing last week that the panel was not moved by the arguments of Gov. Barbour or the MSGOP.

The open question, as I see it, is whether or not the panel will take the position urged by the Secretary of State, which is to allow the Legislature another crack at redistricting next session. I don't believe the Court will do that, as Judge Jolly commented that the current districts are "terribly malapportioned" during the hearing. Allowing elections under "terribly malapportioned" districts once one knows full well that the districts are, in fact, so malapportioned is something I don't believe our constitutional jurisprudence supports. That being said, Jolly, Lee, and Guirola are the federal judges here; I'm just a lawyer.

Harrison closes his piece with something we should all bear in mind during The Waiting:
Of course, it is probably not smart to try to guess what federal judges will do. They can be unpredictable. They do not have to answer to anyone other than the law as they interpret it.

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