Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"One Person, One Vote, Eight Justices"

The Atlantic's Matt Ford has this report on yesterday's SCOTUS decision in Evenwel v. Abbott. He begins:

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously turned back a legal effort to reinterpret the “one person, one vote” constitutional rule Monday, ruling that states may rely on total population when drawing their legislative districts.

 

The case, Evenwel v. Abbott, was brought by two Texas voters, Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger, who challenged the apportionment of Texas Senate districts. With the exception of the U.S. Senate, every American legislative body is apportioned by total population under the “one person, one vote” rule first outlined by the Court in the 1960s.

 

Evenwel and Pfenninger argued that counting non-voters—children, the mentally disabled, disenfranchised prisoners, and non-citizensbroke that rule and diluted their political power in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Cause. Many observers, including my colleague Garrett Epps, noted that Evenwel’s interpretation would redraw the American political map in favor of a whiter, older, and more conservative electorate.

 

“In agreement with Texas and the United States, we reject appellants’ attempt to locate a voter-equality mandate in the Equal Protection Clause,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority. “As history, precedent, and practice demonstrate, it is plainly permissible for jurisdictions to measure equalization by the total population of state and local legislative districts.”

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/civil_rights/2016/04/one-person-one-vote-eight-justices.html

Election Law, Equal Protection Clause, Right to Vote | Permalink

Comments

Anyone want to discuss a related issue? Is it true that pursuant to the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, as applied in _Sailors v. Board of Education_ 387 U.S. 105 (1967), state legislatures only may delegate administrative powers – not substantial legislative powers – to local governmental boards that are not controlled by directly-elected bodies?

Posted by: Art Cowen | Jan 19, 2017 11:54:33 AM

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