THUMB AWARD DRAWING THE LINE

Thumbs Down to Federal Judge William Wayne Justice of Tyler and his two compatriots on the bench. The three threw out the Congressional districts drawn by the Texas Legislature and fashioned a plan of their own that was blatantly, embarrassingly political. It was unfair to Republicans Steve Bartlett and Dee Travis, who were competing in the Republican primary when the 5th District was Republican. It was equally unfair to Democrats Bill Blackburn and John Bryant, who filed to run in the 5th once these same judges had reshaped it as a Democratic district. Fortunately, the Supreme Court agreed, but unfortunately, did nothing about it. Primary elections will be held on May 1 under the federal judges’ plan, which has driven Bartlett and Travis from the 5th into the 3rd District, where they’re running in the Republican primary against Kay Bailey Hutchison and Jim Jackson. The irony of the 5th according to one political observer, is that the Legislature yielded to pressure from Governor Bill Clements and made the district Republican because so many members couldn’t stand Congressman Jim Mattox, who’s fleeing Congress to run for attorney general.

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