The Note: Cowboy and Indians

Amy Fagan of The Washington Times Notes that a bipartisan group of Senators reviewing the Dubai port deal reminded the executive branch of their ability to kill the deal. LINK

SCOTUS:

The collective wisdom of most people who attended yesterday's oral arguments in the Texas redistricting cases is that the Court is likely to uphold all, or most, of the current map.

Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times writes "it appeared unlikely by the end of the intense two-hour argument that a majority of the court would overturn the 2003 redistricting plan, or any other plan, for that matter, as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander." LINK

The Washington Post's Charles Lane writes that "the justices seemed likely to let stand all or most of DeLay's handiwork" after yesterday's oral argument in the Texas redistricting case. LINK

"Perhaps the worst sign for the opponents came in the hostile questioning by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, whose past opinions on election law issues suggest that he might be the swing voter in the case. Kennedy said it would be 'very dangerous' for the court to bar mid-decade redistricting that favors one party."

Roll Call's David Drucker writes, "At least five Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical Wednesday that the Texas Congressional map engineered by Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) in 2003 needs to be redrawn."

While hearing arguments on the Texas redistricting case, Justices of the SCOTUS "appeared to press the plaintiffs harder than they did the defendants," writes Jonathan E. Kaplan of the Hill. LINK

If the Court invalidates the map, writes Kaplan, then Democrats are likely to regain some of the seats they lost in 2004. If the Court upholds the map, Republicans will go into the 2006 elections in good standing, and, as a long-term effect, "state legislators and their allies in Congress could design new boundaries every time power shifts from one party to the other."

Bloomberg agrees with the conventional wisdom. LINK

In his analysis of yesterday's arguments in the Texas Redistricting case, Bob Bauer of More Soft Money Hard Law Notes that Justice Anthony Kennedy was critical of a flat-ban on mid-decade redistricting, saying that such a policy could potentially be "very dangerous." LINK

Pusey and Gillman of the Dallas Morning News write that the "justices appeared cool to the much-anticipated claim that a 2003 map of congressional districts approved by the GOP-dominated Legislature amounted to excessively partisan politics."

"But a majority seemed open to the possibility that one part of the map -- a finger from Central Texas to the Lower Rio Grande Valley -- might have disenfranchised Hispanic voters." LINK

The Houston Chronicle's Patty Reinert writes that the justices "appeared reluctant" to throw out the "Republican-friendly map on the grounds that the political gerrymandering had gone too far." But she adds that Justice Kennedy "made clear the map could be rejected for another reason: Some districts redrawn by the Texas Legislature in 2003 may violate the federal Voting Rights Act by discriminating against minority voters." LINK

As for President Bush's Court picks, Justice Alito was very quiet but Chief Justice Roberts was fully engaged.

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