Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Case That Could Undermine One Person One Vote

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On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could fundamentally alter the way districts are drawn in the United States. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, it could also undermine the bedrock American principle of “one person, one vote”.

The case brought forward by Texas plaintiffs Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger, argues that Texas Senate Districts dilute the plaintiffs’ voting power, because a higher proportion of residents is eligible to vote in their districts than in other districts in the state. The two plaintiffs are represented by the right-wing group Project on Fair Representation, which also brought the suit against the Voting Rights Act to the Supreme Court.

Under current law, federal and state districts are drawn based on the principle that each district should have equal or nearly equal populations. The challenge brought before the Supreme Court would alter that formula, instead redrawing district’s based on eligible voter population, rather than total population. If the court accepts the plaintiff’s arguments, it will clear the way for redrawing districts, to further dilute the political power of already disenfranchised groups like children, prisoners, and undocumented immigrants.

If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, it will undermine “representational equality” which ensures that each elected representative in a body governs roughly the same number of people. It would also throw redistricting into chaos, as Census population data would be replaced by a hodgepodge of competing formulas used to estimate the voter eligible population in each district.

The court agreed to hear the case even though it has not been tested in the lower courts, which would typically rule on a case before it reaches the Supreme Court. The intended effect of the change would be to dilute the political power of Latinos, children, and voters in urban areas while disproportionately empowering older, rural and whiter voters.

While it remains uncertain how the Supreme Court will rule on the case, their decision to hear the case already confirms a  familiar pattern with the Roberts’ Court. When it comes to election law, the only guiding principle that governs the decisions of the conservative justices on the Robert’s Court, is will the change benefit Republicans? If the answer is yes, then that is how the court will likely rule.

28 Replies to “Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Case That Could Undermine One Person One Vote”

  1. I’ll say this time and time again. For any fence-sitters thinking of not voting because Hillary Clinton won’t give you a unicorn, just remember that a GOP president means another generation or two of gutting our democracy.

  2. So on that premise it would not be a Country of “We the People” It will be We the Republicans, (also not a Republic, like in the Constitution).

    We will become a Banana Republic with one political party and ruled by a FEW ONE-PER CENTERS, AND THEIR CHOSEN MINIONS.

  3. OK OK OK! lets cut to the chase! the GOP knows DAMN well the ONLY way they can be even competitive in elections is by rigging the DAMN system! FOR THE LOVE OF FU#K! even these dopey nonsensical idiots republican TROLLS who flock here knows it’s true! the SCOTUS is under republican rule! it’s almost always 5 to 4! and those 5 GOP judges are going to do 95% of what they’re paid to do! PERIOD! so if the koch boys say, take away those NEGRO’s vote! trust and believe, ole clarence thomas will do MASSA’s bidding without hesitation! BTW doesn’t clarence thomas look like a burned out CRACK ADDICT!?? he just sits there, looking spaced out! that Anita Hill trial really took a toll on the LONG DONG SILVER wanna be porn star/ judge, a gifted, smart, beautiful BLACK woman destroyed ole boy! maybe that’s why he married a WHITE woman, just SAYIN’

  4. fascism? fascism?? did you say FASCISM?? LMAO that ship sailed when LORD RONALD WILSON REAGAN started destroying unions! see RONNIES MASSA’s told him to wipe out ANY leverage the Common worker had with his employer!? FASCISM? the republican party HATES democracy!? see corporate america HATES democracy! democracy eats into corporate profits, and republicans do NOT tolerate PROFITS being eaten up! FASCISM? LOL NO, try OLIGARCHY! and like the slavery BLACK PEOPLE endured, they’ll be plenty of POOR WHITE FOLKS picking cotton too, yep and with SOUTHERN DRAWLS included.

  5. Hmm…….if they continue to change the rules, then we adapt and change rules to be consistent. Which would mean, states that have a higher voter population would get more senators to have fair representation. Fight fire with fire. Sue to change the rules as they sue to change the rules!

  6. There goes our democratic republic. But to the rural voters, old white people this is freedom. Welcome to the new dark ages

  7. Can someone explain this better than the article did? I honestly don’t understand why this is so severe. For example, it says that the census would no longer be used, replaced with a hodgepodge of formulas. Why? The census gives you specific information (age of each person) about eligible voters.
    Children and illegal immigrants can’t vote, so why would they be considered when drawing up voting districts?
    The only real issue I can see is that they would have to redraw districts every year as people age.

  8. .

    Some background: The apportionment of U.S. Congressional districts is governed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which dictates that “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.” The Fourteenth Amendment’s apportionment of representation among the states according to total population is clear and unambiguous, and a ruling in this case would not change it.

    The idea that districts within each state should contain equal numbers of residents, however, remained unsettled until nearly a century after the Fourteenth Amendment was passed. Many states simply never redrew their congressional and legislative district boundaries as cities grew due to industrialization and migration patterns, with the result being that city dwellers in these states came to be severely underrepresented in Congress and their state legislatures compared to their more rural fellows. It was not until 1963 that the U.S. Supreme Court decided the landmark Reynolds v. Sims case, which held that unequal districts violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (section 1, rather than section 2 quoted above).
    Reynolds v. Sims (1964)
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/rights/landmark_reynolds.html

  9. Yes, but this has nothing to do with what looking forward said or what I replied to. He is suggesting somehow ignoring the constitution and apportioning senators based on population.

  10. In principle “one voter, one vote” makes perfect sense. In fact, the case law implementing the Voting Rights Act has required using population of eligible voters, not population of residents, as the baseline when drawing minority districts. The issue is in how this would work properly in practice. That is, how accurate is the states’ count of eligible voters? It’s on this point that this is probably not a good idea.

  11. Wouldn’t, or should I say couldn’t this have a reverse outcome? I mean look at the Duggars, that is the base. The base being these family values types with a football team or baseball team living under their roof, wouldn’t that cut their base by over 10% in a lot of red areas? I said 10% because it was just a rough estimate on how many would be too young to vote. One would need actual numbers to reach a solid number. Still doesn’t mean it wouldn’t kill them in some of the more competitive districts.

  12. I was trying to figure out if there were more racist comments or grammatical errors in your statement, but there were so many of both that I lost count. Also, I think your caps lock button is on the fritz.

  13. cw:
    Gerrymandering, is the term used to make the voting districts to the advantage of the party making the districts.

    Many states have a district commission staffed by 2 GOP & 2 Dems and one independent, but if it changes, that commission will go away & the distric re-draw will go to the group in power, and they will want to remain in control, by slicing your “cultural-or-political-identity-group” into little chunks that render your group powerless.

    The children in that area, may or may not have sufficient funds for their schools, since people from other sectors will decide that.

  14. I heard on the news: they are now trying to explore a way to impeach Justice Ginsburg for preforming a same-sex marriage. I’m sure they will look to find dirt on Justice Kagan sooner or later.

  15. Totally agree. During a discussion on The Bill Press Show this morning, it was pointed out that repubs are afraid of their shrinking numbers. They are afraid of the dying out of white folks. (I am white). Afraid, afraid afraid! When someone says both parties are the same, it drives me crazy. Millions of women know which party is on their side. Wake up folks. I hope young voters are understanding what the repubs are trying to do.

  16. @erica, our resident TROLL REPUBLICAN FEMALE, what did Madeleine Albright say about females like you? ”Theres a special place in HELL for women like YOU!” Have a Blessed day @erica

  17. In Federalist Paper 36, Alexander Hamilton wrote: “An actual census or enumeration of the people….” https://sites.google.com/site/fedstpapers/home/questions/federalist-papers-35-51

    In Federalist Paper 43, James Madison wrote:
    “Nothing can be more chimerical than to imagine that in a trial of actual force, victory may be calculated by the rules which prevail in a census of the inhabitants, or which determine the event of an election! May it not happen, in fine, that the minority of CITIZENS may become a majority of PERSONS, by the accession of alien residents, of a casual concourse of adventurers, or of those whom the constitution of the State has not admitted to the rights of suffrage?” https://sites.google.com/site/fedstpapers/home/questions/federalist-papers-35-51

    Do the plaintiffs want to count undocumented persons as property? Isn’t that what Southern members to the Constitutional Convention made about slaves?

  18. Jerrymandering has been a problem on both sides of the aisle. I’m inclined to think that we stop the process at its source. Let’s allow felons convicted of non-violent crime retain their voting rights….and felons who have rehabilitated regain their voting rights after 15-20 years of upright living. Let’s also make districts little squares. No shifting districts to create population pockets of like-minded voters. Squares that might contain 10 people or 10,000 people. It will all balance out in the long run. I’m absolutely sick of the game being rigged from the get-go. Of course, there’s absolutely no way this would succeed. Too much partisan money grabbing. Too much lobbying for money. Too many absolutely corrupt people offering themselves for sale to the highest bidder. This country is no longer a democracy. It’s an oligarchy. Only the oligarchs’ votes (and they vote with $) truly have a say. So, in a way, it’s pointless to even discuss this.

  19. Where would SCJ Clarence Thomas be without the people from SELMA. Where was he when they walked on the Anniverary of Selma.
    He is a sad miserable looking piece of a man.So many of the Selma Freedom Fighters died so he could be where he is..where was he when they walked across the Bridge to Selma?

  20. There is NOTHING in the US Constitution that can HONESTLY be used to justify the rulings by our 5 Republican “Justices” on the US Supreme Court that “corporations are people” and that “money equals free speech.” Instead, their justifications were based on a history of judicial decisions made by corporately corrupted judges over the years (i.e. NOT based on the US Constitution). The US Constitution requires that constitutional amendments be made to implement such fundamental constitutional changes. So evidently, the fact that those five Republican “Justices” have been violating both of their Oaths of Office doesn’t seem to bother them in the least (indeed, their rulings serve to protect them from being prosecuted for corruption). Hopefully, this will become a MAJOR ISSUE in 2016 Presidential election season.

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