The U.S. Supreme Court’s docket is crowded with voter redistricting disputes this term. The high court already heard a procedural redistricting dispute, Shapiro v. McManus, U.S., No. 14-990, argued, 11/4/15 (84 U.S.L.W. 615, 11/10/15), and the justices recently agreed to take a look at a racial gerrymandering challenge to Virginia’s latest voter map in Wittman v. Personhuballah, U.S., No. 14-1504, review granted, 11/13/15 (84 U.S.L.W. 663, 11/17/15). But on Dec. 8, the one-person, one-vote principle will take center stage at the high court in two separate redistricting cases: Evenwel v. Abbott, U.S., No. 14-940, oral argument scheduled, 12/8/15, and Harris v. Ariz. Indep. Redistricting Comm’n, U.S., No. 14-232, oral argument scheduled, 12/8/15. Where the justices ultimately land in these cases could have a national impact. The dispute in Evenwel—possibly the most consequential of the two one-person, one-vote challenges—centers on whether the one-person, one-vote principle announced in Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964), protects all persons, or just eligible voters.
In Reynolds, the court held that the equal protection clause requires that states draw legislative districts with substantially equal population. “Simply stated, an individual’s right to vote for  legislators is unconstitutionally impaired when its weight is in a substantial fashion diluted when compared with votes of citizens living in other parts of the State,” the court said. But the Reynolds court didn’t say which population had to be equalized—the total population or only the population of eligible voters.
The two Texas voters, Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger, who brought the one-person, one-vote challenge to the state’s most recent voter maps said in their opening Supreme Court brief that the “answer is clear—the one-person, one-vote rule protects eligible voters.”
Because the state uses total population to draw its district lines, the challengers said they live in districts that are “among the most overpopulated with eligible voters.” For example, the vote of an eligible voter in District 27, a district with fewer eligible voters, “is 1.56 times more powerful than the vote of an eligible voter in District 1 (where Ms. Evenwel resides).” But the state responded that which population method to use—total or eligible voter—is a question best left to the states.
Full Article: Supreme Court Digs Into Redistricting | Bloomberg BNA.