The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court decided in the case of Evenwel v. Abbott, in a unanimous 8-0 vote, that “one man, one vote” should be interpreted to mean that political power is apportioned per person, as opposed to per eligible voter. The ruling is a huge win for Democrats, who would have seen their legislative power nosedive should redistricting processes in Republican-controlled legislatures have been allowed to discount non-voters.

Interpreting “one man, one vote” to mean that every person in a given district should be counted has historically been the law. But two plaintiffs from Texas sought to change it to reflect the fact that, while two voting districts may have an equal number of people in them, they may have wildly different numbers of eligible voters.

This, of course, had some huge partisan implications: voting rights are taken away from felons for life, in many states, and efforts to suppress voter turnout through voter ID laws and other restrictions have typically worked to marginalize Democrats.

With Monday’s ruling, all eight sitting justices affirmed the current interpretation of “one person one vote,” which takes into account every person living in a legislative district, and ensures that representation is determined by the total population of a given district, and not simply the number of voters in it.

The ruling could have profoundly affected the future design of legislative districts, which will continue to be drawn by counting every person in them, regardless of their voting status.

For the majority, Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that, “Adopting voter-eligible apportionment as constitutional command would upset a well-functioning approach to districting that all 50 States and countless local jurisdictions have followed for decades, even centuries.”

Election law experts seemed to expect the court would rule as it did. Rick Hasen of electionlawblog.org wrote that “Justice Ginsburg’s opinion holds that districting using total population was consistent with constitutional history, the Court’s own decisions, and longstanding practice.”

Photo: The U.S. Supreme Court building is seen in Washington, March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, center, and his cabinet

By Michael Holden and Elizabeth Piper

LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was clinging to power on Wednesday, gravely wounded by the resignation of ministers who said he was not fit to govern and with a growing number of lawmakers calling for him to go.

Keep reading... Show less

By Brendan O'Brien and Tom Polansek

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (Reuters) - The man accused of opening fire on a July Fourth parade near Chicago was charged on Tuesday with seven counts of murder, as police revealed they had reported him as posing a "clear and present danger" after alleged threats to his family in 2019.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}