June 2003
New Republic;6/9/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 22, p7
Offers observations on the use of the United States Department of Homeland Security to search for Texas Democratic state legislators who fled to Oklahoma in order to stop a redistricting plan by Republicans. This scandal may not have involved money or sex, but it involved something more serious: the blurring of the line between the power of the state and the partisan interests of those who run it--a line that represents the fundamental separation between a democracy and a dictatorship. The Texas saga is actually a double scandal. The first element was an attempt by Republicans to redesign the state's congressional map so as to assure more seats for the GOP. To stymie the GOP plan, Texas Democrats resorted to a trick of their own: They fled the state in order to deny Republicans the quorum they needed to enact their plan. The Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with catching terrorists and smugglers, duly tried to track the plane, although it failed to find it. Republicans claim this was the work of a Texas officer acting on his own. But there are plenty of reasons to be suspicious.


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