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Author Topic: US House Redistricting: Kentucky  (Read 7735 times)
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« on: January 10, 2011, 12:56:04 am »
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I expect something like this. This map will obviously make Ben Chandler a lot safer:

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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2011, 08:42:42 am »
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What incentive do Republicans have to agree to make Chandler safer?  I don't think any of their incumbents need help. 
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 08:58:59 am »
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Certainly no reason to cede him a safe seat. He probably can have some positive corrections on the margins.
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I may conceivably reconsider.

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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2011, 09:20:25 am »
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This is an adaptation of what I came up with a while back:



Chandler's district is 51-48 McCain.

Republicans only have one third of the trifecta; Dems still have the State House and governorship. I don't see how they can successfully argue that the map should have 5 Republican districts. Maybe they get a favorable State Senate map in exchange or something.
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2011, 09:42:59 am »
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Who drew the last map?  If it wasn't a GOP gerrymander then I think one can easily argue for a map that doesn't change much. 
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 10:29:58 am »
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Same situation as now -- Dem governor, Dem House, Republican Senate. However, KY-06 was held by a Republican that time (Ernie Fletcher), and KY-04 by a Democrat (Ken Lucas).
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 10:38:24 am »
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Who drew the last map?  If it wasn't a GOP gerrymander then I think one can easily argue for a map that doesn't change much. 
In the past, redistricting was done after the gubernatorial election.

It is likely that redistricting data will be too late for completing work in the 2011 regular session, and there may be no desire to blow up the session, since any plan is going to have to be passed by both houses.  You get a necessarily bipartisan interim committee to create a plan over the summer.

The next gubernatorial term begins in early December.

So does Beshear call a special session during the summer to try and push through a Democratic hack plan?  Does he announce that he is not going to run for re-election so that he can concentrate on pushing through a Democratic hack plan before he gets an appointment in the Obama administration?  Does he call a lame duck session next November?  If he loses, the senate simply stalls.  If he wins, there is no reason to rush it.

Kentucky has a pretty reasonable plan, with one district for the largest city, one surrounding the second largest, and another for the 3rd largest concentration of population.  If either house objects to a plan, they simply let the courts impose a plan which will make the fewest changes from the current plan.

The only real question then is whether Owensboro gets flipped in exchange for the area southeast of Bowling Green.
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 11:19:56 am »
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How exactly does he push through a "hack plan" (which a 4-2 map certainly is not) with a Republican Senate?
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 12:37:47 pm »
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Hal Rogers is 73, so Republicans may not mind having the 5th made safer. The PVI for that area is very misleading, especially with the 2008 election. Granted it would probably require Obama out of office, but Republicans aren't going to assume that won't happen.
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2011, 06:39:40 pm »
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I suppose here we have two issues. The first is whether the Pubbies think they will take it all in the 2011 election, and thus will stall and wait for the promise land. The second issue is assuming that they don't see that in the cards (taking everything), just how would a court draw the lines, which then becomes the "default" plan?  It would be against that backdrop, that the two parties would then bargain. And in that regard, it matters whether it ends up in federal or state court (and other than VRA challenges, I am confused in my mind, as a matter of legal procedure, just how and why these redistricting cases end up in federal court as opposed to state court, or visa versa. Does anyone know? Muon2 or Sam Spade)?

Federal versus state court matters, because if there is no map, the federal judges follow I think the least change rule, and try to make as few changes from the existing map for the prior decennial, as possible. State court judges however, for some reason follow no such rule, and just do their own thing. So whether a Kentucky map is drawn by a federal or state judge may matter, potentially a lot, although probably not in Kentucky's case. The existing map is pretty logical.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 06:46:03 pm by Torie »Logged

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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2011, 07:04:22 pm »
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Federal versus state court matters, because if there is no map, the federal judges follow I think the least change rule, and try to make as few changes from the existing map for the prior decennial, as possible. State court judges however, for some reason follow no such rule, and just do their own thing. So whether a Kentucky map is drawn by a federal or state judge may matter, potentially a lot, although probably not in Kentucky's case. The existing map is pretty logical.

I would assume this is because federal judges view redistricting as an issue for the states and thus, when called upon to deal with it, feel they should make as few changes as possible so as to avoid impinging on states' rights, such as they are. State judges would, of course, have no such compunction.

Also, many state court judges are elected hacks.
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2011, 07:17:45 pm »
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Yeah, unless it's a complaint based on federal law (like the VRA), redistricting cases would be filed in state court. Incidentally, are there any other significant federal laws regarding redistricting other than the VRA? I can't think of any offhand.
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2011, 07:36:55 pm »
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Yeah, unless it's a complaint based on federal law (like the VRA), redistricting cases would be filed in state court. Incidentally, are there any other significant federal laws regarding redistricting other than the VRA? I can't think of any offhand.

I think for some reason, a Texas case ended up in federal court in the 2001 cycle, not involving a VRA issue, but rather no map, but I could be wrong. Sam Spade would know.
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2011, 07:41:13 pm »
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Yeah, unless it's a complaint based on federal law (like the VRA), redistricting cases would be filed in state court. Incidentally, are there any other significant federal laws regarding redistricting other than the VRA? I can't think of any offhand.

I think for some reason, a Texas case ended up in federal court in the 2001 cycle, not involving a VRA issue, but rather no map, but I could be wrong. Sam Spade would know.

Plaintiff was registered to vote in Texas but was domiciled elsewhere (e.g., a college student from out of state)?
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2011, 08:07:34 pm »
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Yeah, unless it's a complaint based on federal law (like the VRA), redistricting cases would be filed in state court. Incidentally, are there any other significant federal laws regarding redistricting other than the VRA? I can't think of any offhand.

I think for some reason, a Texas case ended up in federal court in the 2001 cycle, not involving a VRA issue, but rather no map, but I could be wrong. Sam Spade would know.

Plaintiff was registered to vote in Texas but was domiciled elsewhere (e.g., a college student from out of state)?

Ah, diversity jurisdiction!  So, then perhaps it is a game of race to the courthouse, with if you want a state court, you find a domestic domicile, and if you want federal court, you find a foreign state domicile, to sue. Just how you can be registered in one state, and domiciled in another for diversity jurisdiction purposes, is an interesting question, now isn't it? 

I wonder if this is how it all works. Darn, I am just so ignorant sometimes, and find over time  that the universe of my ignorance just keeps expanding, just like the universe itself. Fancy that.
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2011, 09:07:58 pm »
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Well, if I were the judge drawing the plan, because for whatever reason, the parties cannot cut a deal (perhaps because one party or the other thinks they will control the process after the 2011 election, and it turns out not, and then they still can't get their act together), this is the map I would draw. CD-03 expands to take in the rest of Jefferson County (except for the far western corner (surprising that CD-03 did not expand outside of Jeffco this time, but it didn't, and in this case intra county splits when the census numbers come in, will for obvious reasons, not make a wit of difference), and then fill in the county splits, and then switch counties to the extent necessary between CD's, while making the lines look less erose, or not more so at least, and then do whatever county splits are necessary, to make the lines look less erose still. I did do one small county switch out, to round out KY-02. You can see by the shade variations, where I made line changes.

In short, next to nothing happens.

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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2011, 11:41:14 pm »
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How exactly does he push through a "hack plan" (which a 4-2 map certainly is not) with a Republican Senate?
He calls a special session in the summer and presents his hack plan to the public, saying that he wants to help Obama out by giving Chandler a more favorable district.  And uses it as the central theme of his re-election campaign.  Chandler appears along side him, and says, we just barely hung on in 2010.  I need to get some of the Republicans out of my district.  Obama flies down and uses his condescending lecturing tone to tell the voters that now is not the time to cling to their religion and congressional districts.  You're right, it won't happen.

The plan where he decides not to run in exchange for an administration position won't happen.  And if he were to lose the election, he wouldn't have any leverage in a lame duck session.

So the map approved drawn in a special session in December 2012.  Everyone in the legislature is going to be eager to get it done, because the filing deadline is early February for a May primary.  The House member will be eager to get their map approved, and the senators to get their map approved, so they're not interested in getting hung up over the congressional plan.

On the Senate plan, just keeping the current districts helps the Republicans.  In many cases what has happened is that rural districts needed so more people so the district was extended into the suburbs of Louisville, Cincinnati, or Lexington.  Since these are the furthest out suburbs, they are the most Republican areas in the state.  The rural districts might have been somewhat competitive, but there might not have been a strong Republican candidate.  But now there are a lot of Republican voters, some good candidates, and the rural Republicans might vote for him.

In the House, there have been a lot of cracking and packing of Republicans and some really ugly districts with odd appendages and isthmuses.  House districts are a little larger than 1/3 the size of Senate districts (38 senators, 100 representatives).  So if a senate district needs 20,000 persons, then the 3 house districts in the same area will need about 20,000 as well.  If you put all 20,000 in one house district that is 1/2 of a district.  But if you split the 20,000 among 3 districts, you have fractured the suburban area and may not be able to find a strong candidate.

The same thing happens with the city districts which stretch outward like toothpaste maintaining the original core, but with enough added population to pass one man, one vote, but not enough to change the political character of the district.  And then you pack the rest of the Republican voters.

It doesn't appear that there have to be any complete shifts of districts.  The rural and coal areas have already been depopulated, and there is not massive influx of people into Kentucky.  So you sort of slide districts a little bit toward Louisville and Lexington.  There is no reason to get rid of districts so you don't have a reason or opportunity to dismember the occasional Republican-held district.  They might have to flip a couple of seats to the Republicans in the suburbs, but they can stretch the seats a little more.  To radically redo the House you would need Republican control of both houses and the governor, and that is going to be hard to accomplish.
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2011, 12:20:44 am »
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I suppose here we have two issues. The first is whether the Pubbies think they will take it all in the 2011 election, and thus will stall and wait for the promise land. The second issue is assuming that they don't see that in the cards (taking everything), just how would a court draw the lines, which then becomes the "default" plan?  It would be against that backdrop, that the two parties would then bargain. And in that regard, it matters whether it ends up in federal or state court (and other than VRA challenges, I am confused in my mind, as a matter of legal procedure, just how and why these redistricting cases end up in federal court as opposed to state court, or visa versa. Does anyone know? Muon2 or Sam Spade)?

Federal versus state court matters, because if there is no map, the federal judges follow I think the least change rule, and try to make as few changes from the existing map for the prior decennial, as possible. State court judges however, for some reason follow no such rule, and just do their own thing. So whether a Kentucky map is drawn by a federal or state judge may matter, potentially a lot, although probably not in Kentucky's case. The existing map is pretty logical.
Kentucky only elects the governor in 2011.  The legislature is elected in 2012.  The primary is in May, and the legislature will be finishing up about the time they get census data.  So it is likely that you get a joint interim committee drawing up the congressional map during the summer, and perhaps separate committees for the two houses.  Beshear could call a special sesson during the summer.  But there is no reason to risk a blowup in a special redistricting session in the middle of election campaign when you are trying to portray yourself as the leader of the state, rather than the leader of your party.

So the redistricting gets done during the winter just before the filing deadline for the legislature.  The legislature also has an incentive to get the redistricting done, because they don't want the uncertainty of a court decision, which also delays filing, and ends up with minimal changes.  If the senate plan goes to a court, the court would be inclined to go with a Republican plan, since there are structural advantages that the Republicans simply need to maintain.  If the house plan goes to a court, there is greater risk for Democrats, since a court might not be inclined to make misshapen districts even worse in order to maintain partisan advantage.
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2011, 12:24:13 am »
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The GOP don't appear to have much of a good chance at taking out Beshear, so if I were a Republican Senate leader I'd agree to accept a favorable Senate map in exchange for strengthening Chandler.
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« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2011, 09:19:14 am »
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And in that regard, it matters whether it ends up in federal or state court (and other than VRA challenges, I am confused in my mind, as a matter of legal procedure, just how and why these redistricting cases end up in federal court as opposed to state court, or visa versa. Does anyone know? Muon2 or Sam Spade)?
In Texas in 2001, it ended up in both federal and state court, and they actually held joint hearings.

As soon as the reapportionment was announced in 2000, the Democrats filed suit in federal court alleging that not only didn't Texas have 32 congressional districts, each of the existing 30 districts averaged 32/30 of the ideal population, and the legislature was unlikely to draw a legal plan since they hadn't for 4 decades in a row.  The court told them to cool their jets, but the case did ultimately end up in that district (Eastern).  The 1990s case was in the Southern district, and the Democrats did not like that decision.

The legislature met in 2001, and failed to draw congressional or legislative districts.  In Texas, if the legislature fails to redistrict itself, the Legislative Redistricting Board does so.  The LRB is comprised of various state officials (AG, Comptroller, Land Commissioner, Lt.Governor, and House Speaker).  In 2001 this meant 4 Republicans and 1 Democrat, Pete Laney the House Speaker).  The LRB then drew its legislative plans, submitted them to the DOJ for VRA preclearance, and then made some minor adjustments - see Bexar County house districts which look like a bunch of bananas.  The federal did court did end up with jurisdiction for the legislative districts but mainly just grumbled.

During the summer it became clear that the legislature was not going to be called into session, so a state district court in Travis County devised a plan, which was the most reasonable congressional plan drawn during the decade.  If that plan had stood, the federal court would likely just have reviewed it and let it stand.  But the judge said that he was going to make a few tweaks to address concerns of Speaker Laney.  Laney may have been smarting from the LRB hearings in the summer, or perhaps the Democratic party had told him that Texas had never had a fair plan, and now wasn't the time to start.  But when the state district judge announced his "minor tweaks" they turned out to be quite extensive.  The Texas Supreme Court overturned the district court decision (on due process grounds, after having hearings with all the interested parties, he had gone and negotiated a deal with one of them).

Del Rio v Perry

The Texas Supreme Court then remanded the case to the district court, which didn't act, and at this point the federal court took over.  It ruled that the state district court had not produced a legal plan, and that there were no 32-district plans.  But it did use the 1996 30-district plan as reflecting past policy choices of the State.

2000s Redistricting

Federal versus state court matters, because if there is no map, the federal judges follow I think the least change rule, and try to make as few changes from the existing map for the prior decennial, as possible. State court judges however, for some reason follow no such rule, and just do their own thing. So whether a Kentucky map is drawn by a federal or state judge may matter, potentially a lot, although probably not in Kentucky's case. The existing map is pretty logical.
The federal court is expected to defer to the state courts.  I think the presumption is that the state courts are part of the process that the State has set out to take care of omissions by a state agency, whether this is implicit, as in Texas, or explicit as is the case in California.

The interest of the federal court is that the State not conduct an unconstitutional election.

See Growe v Emison.

In Texas, one of the issues was whether the AG represented the state, and could have his plan be the basis for the federal court, or whether the AG represented the legislature, which had not produced a plan.  Some of the dissents wanted to have the reasonable state court plan become the base plan for the federal court.

The federal court does not have authority to make policy decisions for a state.  They can only do enough to make an existing plan constitutional for the next election (2012).  Kentucky does have six congressional districts, that are all within about 10% of ideal population.

In Texas, there was never a valid 32-district plan, so the federal court drew a new plan, but did base it on the old 30-district plan as reflecting past policy choices, albeit of the 90s-era legislature.
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« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2011, 09:53:41 am »
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How exactly does he push through a "hack plan" (which a 4-2 map certainly is not) with a Republican Senate?
He calls a special session in the summer and presents his hack plan to the public, saying that he wants to help Obama out by giving Chandler a more favorable district.  And uses it as the central theme of his re-election campaign.  Chandler appears along side him, and says, we just barely hung on in 2010.  I need to get some of the Republicans out of my district.  Obama flies down and uses his condescending lecturing tone to tell the voters that now is not the time to cling to their religion and congressional districts.  You're right, it won't happen.

You have a rich fantasy life.
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« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2011, 11:00:32 am »
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Thanks Jimrtex for that most extensive tour de horizon of the legal scuffles. The do it different in Texas don't they - on just about everything it seems. Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2011, 01:41:57 pm »
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The GOP don't appear to have much of a good chance at taking out Beshear, so if I were a Republican Senate leader I'd agree to accept a favorable Senate map in exchange for strengthening Chandler.
The GOP doesn't have to do anything to get a favorable senate map.  Take a look at the existing house and senate maps.  In the case of the house look at the Louisville area.

The senate districts are of a large enough scale that they can be maintained by simply shifting people around.  So you have districts that kind of look like they are rural with 3 or 4 counties, but they will have one suburban county, which over time will become the dominant county.  So you end up with the suburban Republican vote well distributed over a bunch of districts, with sufficient clout that they can make the districts Republican.

The house districts are of a much smaller scale, so if you try to maintain incumbents you have to really have to have elongated districts.

So it will be the House Democrats who will be desperate for a legislative deal.  A court isn't going to radically redraw the congressional or senate map, there is a chance that it will happen for the House.
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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2011, 06:43:06 pm »
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Who drew the last map?  If it wasn't a GOP gerrymander then I think one can easily argue for a map that doesn't change much. 

It was a GOP gerrymander.
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2011, 08:55:27 pm »
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I don't think KY 2000 was a GOP gerrymander or even an incumbent gerrymander. According to polidata.org these are the changes in the Gore/Bush numbers.

KY-1: 1% more GOP
KY-2: 1.4% more Dem
KY-3: 2.5% more GOP
KY-4: no change
KY-5: 0.6% more Dem
KY-6: 0.1% more Dem

Looks like there were very small changes, only to maintain population equality. KY-3 may have needed to expand, moreso than protecting Northup.
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