How lame a job did the three-judge federal panel do when they drew the congressional map? We used to have one district -- Ron Paul's D. 14 -- stretching from just outside Austin to just outside Houston (and down to Port Aransas). Now we have two, with the new D. 31, which swoops from Williamson to Harris by way of College Station. Was this necessary? Of course not. Paul, who lives in Surfside, could have had a Houston suburban district, and Lloyd Doggett and the new D. 31 could have split metro Austin pretty evenly between them.
This measure would have made it easier for the judges, had they chosen to break a sweat, to consolidate the absurd gerrymanders in South Texas (right now, Port Aransas, Corpus Christi, Kingsville, and Alice are all in different districts) and create a new majority-Latino district there. Instead, the Austin metro area, which except for some of Lamar Smith's constituents used to be shared by Doggett and Paul, will now be divided among five reps -- and aside from Austinites east of MoPac and a handful of people in Hays County, everyone will have a new congressman.