The Note: The Districts of the United States of America


People who think long-term in politics will be watching the Supreme Court today where a decision could come in the consolidated Texas redistricting cases.

If the Supreme Court declines to invalidate the Texas congressional map engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) today and affirms the principles of partisan gerrymandering and mid-decade redistricting, DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Democratic strategist Howard Wolfson have speculated in the pages of Roll Call and the Wall Street Journal in recent days that the party might employ DeLay's tactics in states where Democrats are expected to control the governorship and the state legislature after November.

DCCC spokesgal Sarah Feinberg tells ABC News that the campaign arm of House Democrats is focused on November. She adds, however, that "if the Supreme Court says the Tom DeLay Texas map is OK, I think the attitude will be that mid-decade redistricting done in a gerrymandered and unfair way is distasteful, but apparently legal, according to the highest court in the land. And I can't imagine why at that point only Republicans would engage in it."

Such a move on the part of Democrats won't come without controversy. Many high-profile Democrats are on the record denouncing DeLay's tactics; Republicans could also export the tactic; and squeezing more Democratic-leaning districts out of particular states might require splitting minority voters into multiple districts, a move which could run afoul of the Voting Rights Act, as Michael Carvin, a Republican lawyer involved in the Texas case, recently told the Journal.

President Bush travels to St. Louis, MO today where he will meet with veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan at a VFW post before heading to a 500-person fundraiser for Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) that will raise $1 million. (The money will be split 50-50 by Talent campaign and state party). The President returns to Washington, DC later this evening. Sen. Talent is facing a stiff challenge to his re-election from Democrat Claire McCaskill, in a race that is part of any Democratic equation for taking control of the Senate.

"Despite the fact that President Bush has the job approval of less than 40 percent of the American people," Maggie Creamer of the Columbia Missourian writes that the President's appearance at a fundraiser for Sen. Talent could help his chances of "repelling a challenge" from McCaskill. LINK

Timed with the President's trip, the AP's David Lieb profiles the "great distances" that McCaskill is going to position herself on the "good side" of Missouri's rural voters. LINK

The Bush Administration announces new rules today that will require states to move more poor people from welfare to work. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt holds a presser to discuss this "next phase in welfare reform" at 11:00 am ET.

ABC News' Brian Hartman reports that Leavitt previewed this "next phase" in a speech to the Heritage Foundation in mid-June, saying it will correct the federal government's "over-generosity" in allowing states to define what constituted "work."

More from Robert Pear of the New York Times: LINK

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