Yesterday, House Speaker Billy McCoy destroyed all myths to the contrary that he actually uses the internet and sent a letter to Lt. Governor Phil Byrant.
Dear Lt. Governor Bryant:
I read with interest an Internet post Monday night following a meeting between Republican state senators and yourself. The post quoted you as telling the crowd that the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, would “take care of” legislative Republicans in the redistricting lawsuit because Governor Barbour had handled her nomination to the 5th Circuit when he worked in the Reagan White House.
Did you make these comments or say anything implying that the Chief Judge likely would appoint a judge favorable to Republican interests? Did you make any comments about the relationship between the Chief Judge and Governor would affect her actions in selecting the panel in the case?
That Internet post was disturbing for several reasons. Judicial integrity and judicial independence have been brought into question by these comments and their references to Governor Barbour’s relationship with the Chief Judge. Please let us hear from you at your earliest convenience.
William J. McCoy
The Lt. Governor flatly denied making the rumored statement. Speaker Pro-Tem Billy Hewes said it best when he stated, “You hear things everyday and they may be good for gossip but I don’t place a whole lot of stock on anonymous blogs.”
This morning on Paul Gallo , Rep. Mark Baker and Philip Gunn stated that House Speaker McCoy will be pushing to attach the House Redistricting plan to a bill not designed for that purpose. The thoughts on the House Democrat side is that they put Senate Republicans on yet another vote to shoot down the House plan. The Senate clearly has the option to adjourn sine die, which would give them an additional 3-4 days to come back and take the vote. If the House insists on that course, I think that’s where this may end up.
Again, it will come down again to Senate Republicans to hold the line and insist that a fair redistricting plan is put forth. Speaker Billy McCoy and House Democrats are privately very nervous about the outcome of a federal judicial panel redrawing the lines, and they should be. A fairly selected panel will likely not take into account the purely political calculations of drawing strong challengers out. Senate Republicans need to know that the worst case scenario in federal court is that they approve the House plan and that anything else they do will likely help create a more fair plan. If Democrats want to end this, Bryant and Hewes have flatly stated that all Billy McCoy and Tommy Reynolds have to do is sit down with Philip Gunn and Mark Baker and find middle ground with them. This fight could end within the regular legislative process inside of a day if they were to do that.
Lt. Governor Phil Bryant and his team are rumored to have hard written commitments from Senate Republicans that they will hold the line on Redistricting until a fair plan is offered. He shouldn’t hesitate one iota to burn them publicly should they cave. But keep your eyes on Burton, Ezell Lee, Albritton, Dearing, Hyde-Smith, Hobson, Brown, Clarke & Gollott. Those are the ones that may get squishy on the subsequent vote.
Courtesy of Majority, here are the people last time in the Senate who voted not to let their brethren hang out to dry in the House. Time will tell whether they will hold to that resolve or cave to fictitious political pressure.