The Note: Strategy Of Necessity

The Wall Street Journal's ed board has "more than one source" saying that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has been "privately lobbying his fellow Democrats to keep the (estate) tax even as he personally voted to repeal it."

Texas redistricting:

In a must-read, the Wall Street Journal's Jess Bravin and Ben Winograd report that the Supreme Court could say as early as today whether the DeLay-led mid-decade redistricting in Texas is constitutional. "If the answer is yes, the implications could be felt far beyond Texas as Democrats and Republicans rush to embrace the technique of strategically reallocating voters among congressional districts after each election." LINK

Howard Wolfson, a former executive director of the DCCC (and an adviser to Sen. Clinton), says, ""If the Supreme Court decides that it's legal, not doing it would constitute a unilateral surrender. Democrats see the necessity of fighting fire with fire."

Michael Carvin, a Republican lawyer involved in the Texas case, says that while Democrats have "made noises" about retaliating in their states, they will "run into a problem peculiar to their own membership: Squeezing more Democratic-leaning districts from a map would almost certainly require splitting minority voters into multiple districts, undercutting their strength as a voting bloc. 'They would really have to violate the Voting Rights Act to change the map.'"

Politics of immigration:

Janet Hook and Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times offer a news analysis on Speaker Hastert's decision to hold hearings across the country on immigration and Note that despite involvement from Sen. McCain and Sen. Martinez, House Republicans refer to the Senate plan as the "Reid-Kennedy bill." LINK

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) worries that Speaker Hastert's tactics -- Noting "'immigration has been run from the back benches and the far right'" -- will be detrimental to Republicans, while Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) countered, "'What planet is he on?'" LINK

As the immigration debate heats up in the House, Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter announces: "I don't start wars, but if I'm forced to, I'll participate." Specter plans to sway the public rather than his congressional critics through hearings on the bill beginning next month. LINK

In response to the announcement, Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA), whose committee will participate in the House hearings this summer, said new investigations will not be able to improve the already-passed Senate bill: "You can't put lipstick on a pig," reports Roll Call.

The American people deserve action on a comprehensive immigration bill, says the editorial page of the New York Times, and if this Congress won't give it to them they should elect one that will, it argues. LINK

Top Democratic Massachusetts politicians, such as Sen. Kennedy and Mayor Menino, are not at all pleased with Gov. Romney's plan to let state troopers crack down on immigration issues. LINK

Voting Rights Act:

Remember that bipartisan/bicameral photo-op on the renewal of the Voting Rights Act a little while back? Well, the renewal failed the Speaker's majority of the majority rule and House Republican leaders were forced to pull it from consideration on the floor. The Hill has the details. LINK

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