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Supreme Court Upholds “One Man, One Vote”

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Supreme Court Upholds “One Man, One Vote”

Three anti-abortion protestors are seen outside U.S. Supreme Court building is seen in Washington, March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

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



  1. Dan S April 4, 2016

    Those dang right wingers foiled once again by them darn liberals ?

    1. Independent1 April 4, 2016

      Those right-wingers that filed the lawsuit must really be bumbed today because they can’t just go on cheating like they always have.

  2. Bill April 4, 2016

    When the GOP is in charge crazy things happen, it would be nice if they did something to help people instead always doing stuff to hurt them.

  3. Otto T. Goat April 4, 2016

    California’s 40th district has only 308,347 eligible voters.

    1. CrankyToo April 4, 2016

      Fascinating!!! As usual.

  4. marks April 4, 2016

    When you play with the voters, or non-voters, to gain a political advantage, it might give you short-term victories but you will lose the war

  5. jmprint April 4, 2016

    About time they start using their common sense.

  6. greenlantern1 April 4, 2016

    We STILL do not have that principle in Washington, DC!

  7. Disqus April 4, 2016

    Many people born and raised in the United States have paid property taxes, school taxes, social security taxes, sales taxes their whole lives… they’ve built homes and raised their children here, etc., but they’ve never registered to vote. Just because they’ve never registered to vote doesn’t make them any less of a human being, or that they shouldn’t have representation.

  8. apzzyk April 4, 2016

    FL is one of the few states which never lets convicted felons to vote, and look at its Congressional delegation which is majority GOP, and is another of those state who still execute very many people which really, like TX, takes people permanently off the voter roles.
    Next step for the court will be to declare the voter ID laws unconstituional as have several of the circuits. In AL, the places where the Black minority lives, the places where the people could get the required ID have been closed so it must be better to disenfrachize thousands rather than letting one illegal vote be cast. Strange how the ‘voter fraud’ is such a big problem in the Red States or those with Red govs and legislatures and not elsewhere. In CO we have used mail in ballots for years, and no prosecutions for voter fraud.

  9. Lynda Groom April 4, 2016

    Well I’m glad to see that even so-called ‘conservatives’ grasp that simple concept.

    1. Independent1 April 4, 2016

      Somehow I get the impression that many Conservatives, especially ones like the right-wingers that had filed the lawsuit the SCOTUS overturned, just don’t think elections are worth running unless you can cheat your way into wining them.

  10. Badbad Auntie April 4, 2016

    Outstanding. Welcome all my disenfranchised brothers and sisters. Now to get rid of the Superdelegate system in the DNC which can nullify the votes of ordinary Americans (we serfs) and override our choices by a handful of hand picked elite class democrats (you may call them massa).


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