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Lines in the Sand

Lines in the Sand
Steve Bickerstaff
Austin, TX : University of Texas Press, 2007
JK1343 .T4 B53 2007

In 2003, the Republican and Democratic parties engaged in an unprecedented partisan fight over Texas's thirty-two congressional seats. Congressman Tom DeLay led a Republican effort to gerrymander congressional districts to defeat all ten Anglo Democratic incumbants and to elect more Republicans; Democratic state lawmakers fled the state in an effort to defeat the plan. The Lone Star State uproar soon attracted attention worldwide. The Republicans won the showdown. The new map of congressional districts enhanced Republican voting strength to the maximum extent thought by DeLay to be legally allowable, resulting in the election of Republicans to six additional seats from Texas and the protection of one endangered Republican encumbant. This outcome has undeniably affected national policy-making and has made it more difficult for Democrats to regain a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Some of the methods used by DeLay to achieve this result, however, led to his criminal indictment and ultimately to his downfall.

With its eye-opening research, readable style, and insightful commentary, Lines in the Sand reveals the personal stories of members of both parties and of the minority activist groups caught in a political vortex. Law professor Steve Bickerstaff also provides essential but often overlooked historical details of partisan politics in Texas and knowledgeable explanation of the key legal issues affecting the outcome in Texas. Bickerstaff probes the aftermath of the 2003 redistricting with equal rigor, covering the criminal prosecutions of DeLay and his associates and the events that led to DeLay's eventual resignation from the U.S. House of Representatives.

With its much-needed historical context and frontline accounts of the redistricting saga, Lines in the Sand is essential reading for anyone interested in current events or the workings of American democracy.

Quoted from dustjacket.