Wednesday, May 27, 2015
For 50 years the “one person, one vote” principle has been employed to divide political power by counting all people in states and putting them into electoral districts of roughly equal size. A case raising the continuing vitality of that principle, which could shift away political power away from states, such as California, Florida, and Texas, with growing Latino communities.
The Supreme Court yesterday announced that it would hear arguments about whether electoral districts should continue to be drawn by using census population data, which include noncitizen immigrants who are in the United States, or whether the system should be changed to count only U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote.
The case is Evenwel v. Abbott. The question presented by the case is whether the district court was correct in holding that the “one-person, one-vote” principle under the Equal Protection Clause allows States to use total population, and does not require States to use voter population in apportioning state legislative districts.
David Savage and David Lauter of the Los Angeles Times analyze the potential impacts of the case on Latino voting power. Links to other commentary on the case can be found on SCOTUSBlog.