Black legislators in Atlanta are demonstrating that they feel entitled to positions of power. See here.
African-American lawmakers are the “sacrificial lamb” in the federal court’s quest to equalize the number of people in each state House and Senate election district, the Legislative Black Caucus said today.
The caucus criticized the proposed court-drafted district maps because they threaten the seniority of experienced black legislators.
Sen. Ed Harbison (D-Columbus), chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, said the group would file written comments by the noon Friday deadline the three federal judges have set to hear comment on the new maps, which were released Monday for review.
“The leadership and experience it has taken us years to acquire has been wiped away with the click of a mouse,” Harbison said, referring to the computer-produced plans.
The drafts have put as many as 20 senators and more than 60 House members, 17 of them black, into districts with each other. Several pairs of African-American legislators are matched in the proposed districts.
Three judges ruled last month that the Democratically-drawn state House and Senate districts, designed in 2001 and 2002, respectively, were unconstitutional because they violated the one-person, one-vote guarantee in the U.S. Constitution.
Those maps over-populated districts with voters that leaned Republican, mostly in the suburbs, but they spread Democrats over a greater number of districts, generally in cities or in rural counties, to try to maximize the seats they could win.
The court appointed a special master to draw district boundaries without concern for incumbents, but the maps still had to respect the demands of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting strength.
So, the maps protect minority districts. In fact, the special master, who is black, intentionally drew a number of districts with a black voting age population over 50%.
But, because these black legislators may not be the black legislators next year, they think black legislators have been sacrificed.
One of their criticisms is that black committee chairs are affected and it has taken a long time for those black legislators to work their way up the ladder to the chairmanships. Well, so the other black legislators who have been drawn into the same districts should resign.
This amounts to a self inflicted wound due to the gerrymandering efforts black legislators helped draw. Those lines are the lines the 3 judge panel declared unconstitutional.