"Obey when convenient"

Now Republicans Control the Courts, Too
By Kelly Candaele and Peter Dreier,
Posted on July 13, 2006, Printed on July 13, 2006

News reports about three recent court decisions — Texas gerrymandering, labor violations by Ralphs supermarket chain and President George W. Bush’s treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo — make it appear that justice prevailed and the wrong-doers got their comeuppance. But the opposite is true.

Instead, these rulings reveal why the Republican Congress, the Bush administration and big business are so effective at getting what they want. They have an “obey when convenient” approach to our laws and judicial system. They break them when it suits their purposes, hoping that either they won’t get caught or, if they do, that the punishment will be a slap on the wrist. In other words, they don’t ask for permission. They ask for forgiveness.

On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Texas legislature had illegally gerrymandered a Texas congressional district by removing 100,000 Latinos from it to guarantee a safe Republican seat. The court told the Texas legislature to go back and redo the district. Republican Congressman Tom DeLay, the former House Majority Leader, set the stage for this redistricting by illegally raising corporate money which he funneled into the campaigns of Republican candidates for the state legislature in 2002. Thanks in large measure to these illegal campaign contributions, the GOP captured control of the Texas legislature and in 2003 redrew the map of the state’s congressional districts. As a result, in the 2004 elections, the Republicans gained six Texas congressional seats that had previously been held by Democrats. Under the old map, Texas Republicans held only 15 of the state’s 32 seats in Congress. After DeLay redrew the map, Republicans held 21 seats. This helped solidify the GOP’s majority in Congress.

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