Monday, April 4, 2016
In Evenwal v. Abbott, the Supreme Court today held that states could base districting decisions on total residents as opposed to total eligible voters. Some observers had feared that a decision in the case limiting districting decisions to eligible voters might reduce Latino voting power since the Latino community includes immigrants, who, unless naturalized, are not eligible to vote.
The specific question in that case was whether the three-judge district court correctly held 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, when apportioning state legislative districts. The majority of the Court, in an opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, answered the question in the affirmative. She found that history, practice, and precedent failed to support the challenges. Justices Alito and Thomas concurred in the judgment.