Every ten years, the Texas legislature redistricts itself and the state’s congressional districts in an attempt to ensure equality in representation. With a richly textured cultural fabric, Texas often experiences redistricting battles that are heated enough to gain national attention. Collecting a variety of voices, including legislators themselves, in addition to lawyers, community organizers, political historians, and political scientists, Rotten Boroughs, Political Thickets, and Legislative Donnybrooks delivers a multidimensional picture of how redistricting works in Texas today, and how the process evolved.
In addition to editor Gary Keith’s historical narrative, which emphasizes the aftermath of the Warren Court’s redistricting decisions, longtime litigators David Richards and J. D. Pauerstein describe the contentious lines drawn from the 1970s into the 2000s. Former state legislator and congressman Craig Washington provides an insider’s view, while redistricting attorney and grassroots organizer Jose Garza describes the repercussions for Mexican Americans in Texas. Balancing these essays with a quantitative perspective, political scientists Seth McKee and Mark McKenzie analyze the voting data for the 2000 decade to describe the outcomes of redistricting. The result is a timely tour that provides up-to-date context, particularly on the role of the Voting Rights Act in the twenty-first century. From local community engagement to the halls of the Capitol, this is the definitive portrait of redistricting and its repercussions for all Texans.
Gary A. Keith is Associate Professor of Government and International Affairs at the University of the Incarnate Word. He has worked in the Texas legislature and for a statewide elected official. His previous books are Eckhardt: There Once Was a Congressman from Texas and Texas Politics and Government.