the u.s. supreme court on monday decided, unanimously, in evenwel v. abbott, a case out of texas which challenges the court's interpretation of the 'one person, one vote' doctrine. the court disagreed with the plaintiffs charge to only count 'eligible' voters.
congressional districts are created for each district to have an equal number of people. officials use population numbers drawn from the u.s. census bureau, which attempts to count all of the people residing in the u.s. every 10 years.
the case questioned the fairness of non-eligible voters - including children, incarcerated people and non-citizens - to be counted in the population numbers shaping each district. texas state republican executive committee member sue evenwel and her co-plaintiffs argued the spirit of the doctrine is to count only eligible voters.
justice ruth bader ginsburg wrote, "as the framers of the constitution and the 14th amendment comprehended, representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible to vote. nonvoters have an important stake in many policy debates and in receiving constituent services."
ginsburg said, "by ensuring that each representative is subject to requests and suggestions from the same number of constituents, total-population apportionment promotes equitable and effective representation."
the surprisingly unanimous decision sparks debates around demographics and power. some groups are more likely to be eligible to vote than others. nearly 80% of white people in america are citizens over the age of 18. but fewer than half of hispanics in america fit the same description.
carving up congressional districts based on eligible voters would result in fewer representatives for heavily asian and hispanic parts of the country. moreover, the seats they would have replaced are mostly democratic.
the court hasn't issued a ruling on the other 'one person, one vote' case it heard last december. in harris v. arizona independent redistricting commission, a group of arizona voters argued the commission created legislative maps to bolster the population and violate the principle in the state's republican-leaning districts.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.