Legislature and courts host redistricting party

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Come one, and come all. Mississippi’s having a redistricting party, and all lawyers and judges are encouraged to participate.

The legal equivalent of what football aficionados call &uot;piling on&uot; is happening in Mississippi as several courts are attempting to do what our feeble legislators apparently cannot do.

The issue is one of political – read &uot;partisan&uot; – power. The state must downsize from five U.S. House districts to four after its population grew at a slower rate than other parts of the U.S.

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So with two incumbents – one Republican, one Democrat – poised to face off in a death match for the combined district, the gloves are off and the fighting has begun.

Days after a three-judge federal panel met to hear arguments over whether the federal court would take jurisdiction over the redistricting squabble, a Hinds County Chancery Court judge on Tuesday claimed she will hear a trial on the issue on Jan. 14.

All we need now is Judge Judy, from the TV show by the same name, to show up, and we’ll really be in business.

The situation is almost funny – almost. Democrats and Republicans cannot decide a way to work out a compromise or build a consensus so they’ve both taken the attitude of picking up their marbles and running to the nearest court – only they cannot agree on which court they should use.

We love the irony in the matter. And it remains great fodder for editorial cartoonists and political cynics around the state, but enough is enough.

Legislators need to stop stalling, step up to the plate and do their jobs. Leave the courtrooms open for serious court cases, not partisan squabbles.