Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Jane Kidd, lawsuits, yada yada yada

So, what do you guys think about Jane Kidd threatening to sue the state if they allow the redistricting to take place?  

To be honest with you, we don’t know what to make of the whole thing, but that’s never stopped us before.  So here are a few random musings.

First of all, whether or not you think a lawsuit is valid (we’ll get to that in a moment), we think that Jane Kidd is probably the wrong person to file this suit.  First of all, it’s going to be seen as political posturing, and it’s going to leave her open to be attacked on that front whether or not she is, in fact, posturing.  The GOP could well take the line that, instead of working for votes, she’s wasting her resources fighting the redistricting in court.  And, you know what?  There may be something to that argument.  There’s no doubt that Kidd may be being handed some electoral lemons here, but – well, you know the rest.  

Second point.  None of that stuff above necessarily means that no one should fight the redistricting in court – just not Jane Kidd.  But there have to be tons of advocacy groups just champing at the bit to get this one in a courtroom, right?

Which brings us to our third random musing.  Is there a case to be made here?  I don’t know from law (why do you think we keep DiDDY around?), but I’m not so sure that there’s a successful case here.  Perhaps our legal editor will kindly weigh in on this one and set me straight.

Also, as Hillary points out, if Sonny wants this thing to pass, he actually does have to sign it.  You see, in order to get this thing to DOJ for review, we’ve got to get it there before April 24.  Unfortunately, the 40 day window (in which any legislation unsigned by the Governor automatically becomes law) expires after April 24.  So, if Sonny doesn’t sign it, the bill doesn’t get to DOJ in time, and the whole redistricting is a moot point, at least for the 2006 cycle.  This is kind of interesting to us, since it effectively eliminates a lot of Sonny’s political cover.  According to the Governor’s camp, he still hasn’t made a decision.  We doubt that’s entirely true, but we also suggest that the Athens redistricting, as big an issue as it is here, is hardly on top of the Governor’s to-do list.  Rampant speculation on our part, but we’re guessing that the folks in Perdue’s office are really wishing that they could take a pass on this one – that would explain their hesitation.  We would speculate that he probably will sign the bill, in order to keep his allies under the Gold Dome off his case (and one thing you can say about Sonny Perdue is that he does take care of the folks who take care of him).  He’ll probably sign it at the last possible second he can, and try to get it out on a news cycle dump day (Fridays are good for that – ask the current White House press office) in order to minimize the fallout as much as possible.  Not that the fallout will be particularly overwhelming.  The ABH will bitch and moan, Pete McCommons will pen a clever and scathing column in Flagpole, and local blogs like us will raise holy hell for about a week.  None of that matters, because Sonny lost Athens by a significant margin and will probably do so again come the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2006.  

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out that as of now, Jane Kidd is only considering a lawsuit.  It ain’t a done deal.  We’d remind you that Kidd considered dropping out of the Senate race earlier and didn’t act on it – a good idea in our book.  So, we may be making much ado about nothing here.

So, to sum up.  Yeah, maybe somebody should fight it in court, although we’d rather it not be Jane Kidd, and we’re not sure how strong the case really is.  What do you think?

Related: Antidisingenousmentarianism: Hobbyhorse” 02/28/06
              Athens Banner-Herald: Kidd threatens suit over district plans” 02/28/06


hillary said...

Insert obligatory Dawg Corleone comment about how this is why the Democrats lose elections. Because they love trial lawyers. And bla bla bla.

andyrusk said...

Political posturing on Kidd's part? Maybe it is. Although a heck of a lot of her constituents agree that the re-district is dirty pool.

Sister Souljah once said, "Two wrongs don't make a right, but they damn sure make it even."

In an election year, virtually EVERYTHING can/will be regarded as political posturing.

I for one can't say whether or not Kidd ought to be the one bringing the fight, but perhaps by making the threat (and the headlines) she's just fishing for some other entity to pick up the gauntlet.

Shoot, maybe I ought to sue the bastards.

Dawg Corleone said...

That never occurred to me. I'm actually in agreement with most of what Publius said. Certainly, Kidd should not be the one to file the suit, but at this point that's a moot point. She was on the radio talking about it the other day; she's in the papers now, talking about it. If and when it's filed, it'll have her fingerprints all over it.

The suit would probably be a loser, anyway. There's no real basis for it: the argument that the redistricting is politically motivated is countered by the argument that opposition to it is also politically motivated. The only possible line of success is claiming that redistricting should only occur after a census; that, I gather, is the basis of the Texas lawsuit. But the fact is, redistricting occurs in almost every session. Can't imagine that dog will hunt.

As for trial lawyers costing Democrats elections, I think that's probably overrated. Democrats lose elections nationally because their wimps on defense; they lose at the state level in Ga because the rural whites who once coalesced with blacks are now Republicans. The Democratic Party is the black party now, and that won't cut it in Ga.

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

I guess the interesting question on "who should bring the suit" is "who can bring the suit?", as in, who has standing. I guess any voter in any affected district that claims to have been harmed. I think Publius is right about the fact that Kidd shouldn't bring the suit, not only for the political reasons he mentioned, but because if she brings it, she's essentially claiming that she's being harmed as a candidate, not as a voter (terrible run-on sentence, but I'm too lazy to fix it in a comment). It's terribly presumptuous for any candidate to claim entitlement to anybody's votes, so I'd be more comfortable with Joe Q. Voter filing a suit saying that he's been harmed by the process.

As far as the merits of the case, DawgCorleone is probably right, unless some sort of constitutional argument can be mustered.

I personally wish we'd stop monkeying around with the districts. This may come off as self-serving and hard to believe, but I'm honestly saying that I'd feel the same way if the parties were reversed. I just think there ought to be a set time to redistrict (every 10 years, every 2 years, whatever, just pick one) and that's it. Anything else just invites playing these type of political games. And, oh yeah, did I mention that I support Publius's redistricting commission thing?

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

And Dawg, when was it exactly that rural whites coalesced with blacks in Georgia? Economically, their interests should have caused them to do so, but I'm not sure that ever really happened. The Democrats used to reign supreme in Georgia for exactly the opposite reason: they were the party of segregation, and therefore got the support of rural whites. Then, when Democrats nationally became the party of the civil rights movement, rural whites starting to slowly trend Republican (conservative Democrats first, then Republicans) nationally, while remaining Democrat at the state level because they were voting for DINOs (Democrats in Name Only). Now, with the ascension of the Bushites and the neocons nationally, they've finally crossed over completely and actually call themselves Republican.

What's really at play in Georgia and the rest of the South is the "What's the Matter with Kansas?" syndrome. Rural and poor whites, whose economic interests should have them voting Democrat, vote Republican because of cultural/"values" issues. It won't change until Democrats can speak credibly and understandably about their values (not adopting the opposite party's values, mind you, that won't work at all), many of which are actually held by the same people voting R, but those people allow isolated issues (abortion, gay marriage, etc.) to trump everything else.

Anonymous said...

Perdue signed it.

Fishplate said...

Rural and poor whites, whose economic interests should have them voting Democrat, vote Republican because of cultural/"values" issues. It won't change until Democrats can speak credibly and understandably about their values

If the Republicans were anything but RINO, then taxes and government spending would be lowered, allowing rural and poor whites to keep more of their money. Sadly, both parties seem Hell-bent on spending ewverything they can gett heir hands on - including money set aside from sales of specialty licence plates. "Yes, Mr. and Ms. Georgia General Assembly, I am always looking for more ways to put more of my money into the state's General Fund for you to redistribute as you will..."

Publius said...

I was waiting for the license plates to rear their ugly heads in this one.

Fishplate said...

I think the licence plate issue is an indicator of what legislators think is their right. And again, I include both parties.

Of course, Sonny's conflicting actions are also indicative...I'm gonna volunteer for the task force. I wonder what the chancees are for a qualified unconnected person to be appointed?