To understand redistricting, read 'The Godfather'

September 13, 2011 - 3:15 AM
Redistricting Commission

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa talks with reporters on Monday, Sept. 12, 2011 in Bosie, Idaho. Ysursa told reporters that he has asked Idaho Senate and House leaders, and the chairmen of the Democratic and Republican parties, to name new members to the six-person redistricting committee by Wednesday, with meetings to begin Monday morning. That's after the Idaho Supreme Court on Friday rejected an appeal by Ysursa and GOP commissioners Lou Esposito, Lorna Finman and Evan Frasure to reconvene the commission that adjourned last week. (AP Photo/John Miller)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Political scientist Jack Pitney says "The Federalist Papers" won't help you understand redistricting. You need to read "The Godfather."

As states redraw congressional districts, the once-a-decade process can also be used to exact political revenge.

Pitney teaches at Claremont McKenna College and says it's no surprise partisan rivalries creep into the process.

Political adversaries rarely make their efforts explicit. Texas Republicans, for example, maintain they have put forward a fair map designed to reflect the state's conservative tilt.

But Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett says he's certain his past squabbles with the Republican-controlled Legislature and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are to blame for his experiences.

The first time the Texas' Legislature redrew Doggett's district, they cut it into three pieces. This year they sliced it into five.