Editorials: The Battle Over “One Person, One Vote,” Has Just Begun | Carl Klarner and Dan Smith/The American Prospect

After the Supreme Court’s politically consequential decision in Evenwel v. Abbott this month, supporters of the principle of “one-person, one vote” breathed a sigh of relief. The Court unanimously ruled that states may continue to draw legislative districts based on total population, instead of on a new standard—the number of registered or eligible voters—that would have excluded non-citizen immigrants, youth under 18, people who are or were incarcerated, and anyone else not registered to vote. The ruling stymied a challenge brought by conservative activists in Texas who set out to upend the practice of apportioning legislative districts based on population, which had been settled law for five decades. A ruling in the challengers’ favor could have triggered mass redrawing of legislative district lines around the country, most likely to the advantage of Republicans.

Editorials: One person, one vote: A case of surprise unanimity at the Supreme Court over voting rights | The Economist

Predicting Supreme Court rulings based on the tenor of oral arguments is notoriously hazardous, but journalists’ hunches are rewarded often enough that they keep on coming. In December, this paper averred that Evenwel v Abbott, a challenge to the way the states draw legislative districts, was a close call that would turn on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s vote. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, one of the savviest Supreme Court journalists, also came away from the hearing thinking “it’s clear that…the justices will likely break along the usual partisan lines”. So it was a surprise last week when the eight justices—from Sonia Sotomayor on the left to Clarence Thomas on the right—voted unanimously to turn back a complaint about line-drawing that would have strengthened Republican gerrymandering efforts across the country.

National: Supreme Court rejects conservative challenge in ‘one person, one vote’ case | Reuters

The Supreme Court on Monday endorsed the way Texas draws its legislative districts based on total population and not just eligible voters – the same method used by all 50 states – rejecting a conservative challenge in a case focusing on the legal principle of “one person, one vote.” The eight-justice court unanimously rebuffed the challenge spearheaded by a conservative legal activist that could have shifted influence in state legislative races away from urban areas that tend to be racially diverse and favor Democrats to rural ones predominantly with white voters who often back Republicans. Two of the court’s conservatives, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, concurred only in the judgment and did sign on to the opinion authored by liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The court is one justice short following the Feb. 13 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, but the unanimous vote suggested his presence would not have substantially affected the outcome.

Texas: District Fight May Persist in Texas After Supreme Court Ruling | The New York Times

With a long-running legal struggle raging over one of the nation’s strictest voter identification laws, Texas was already a prime battleground in a war between conservatives and liberals over voting rights. And on Monday, experts here and elsewhere say, the Supreme Court may have opened a second front. The court said unanimously that the state could take into account all of its 27 million residents when it carves its territory into voting districts for the State Senate, regardless of whether they can vote in elections. It was a setback for conservatives who want to limit that redistricting population to eligible voters, and a resounding affirmation of the one-person-one-vote principle that has governed most redistricting nationwide for decades. But it was probably not the final word because the court was silent on whether any other population formula could be used to draw new voting districts. And within hours, advocates on both sides of the issue indicated that Texas or another conservative-dominated state was bound to do just that, probably after the 2020 census triggers a new round of redistricting nationwide.

National: Supreme Court Rejects Challenge on ‘One Person One Vote’ | The New York Times

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that states may count all residents, whether or not they are eligible to vote, in drawing election districts. The decision was a major statement on the meaning of a fundamental principle of the American political system, that of “one person one vote.” “We hold, based on constitutional history, this court’s decisions and longstanding practice, that a state may draw its legislative districts based on total population,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court. As a practical matter, the ruling mostly helped Democrats and upheld the status quo. But until this decision, the court had never resolved whether voting districts should contain roughly the same number of people or the same number of eligible voters. Counting all people amplifies the voting power of places that have large numbers of residents who cannot vote legally — including immigrants who are here legally but are not citizens, illegal immigrants and children. Those places tend to be urban and to vote Democratic.

National: Conservative challenge to voting rights unanimously rejected by supreme court | The Guardian

The US supreme court on Monday unanimously rejected a conservative challenge to voting rights – ruling that states could count the total population, not just eligible voters, in drawing legislative districts. The case was brought before the court after conservative activists challenged the legal principle of “one person, one vote”, which has long established that election districts should be drawn to be equal in population. The two plaintiffs, both residents of Texas, argued the principle diluted the influence of those living in districts where a larger number of individuals were ineligible to vote. But shifting the method would most certainly lend greater power to states with wealthier populations with mostly white voters, and away from urban and more racially diverse areas. The lawsuit was opposed by the Obama administration, the state of Texas and civil rights groups across America.

National: How the Challenge to Legislative Redistricting in Evenwel v. Abbot Backfired | The Atlantic

If the Supreme Court were a stock market, the last few years have been as a bull market in conservative constitutional theories. With a tenuous but real 5-4 conservative majority in place, advocacy groups raced to get their pet theories before the Court. In some cases—campaign finance and gun rights, for example—the race paid off, producing 5-4 wins for radical shifts of doctrine. In others (think about public-employee unions) it has not. Bull markets tempt investors into unwise wagers. History, I suspect, will so regard the appellants in Evenwel v. Abbot, the “one-person-one-vote” (OPOV) case decided Monday. In Evenwel, the Court unanimously rejected an advocacy group’s invitation to throw American politics into turmoil, and in the process to shift power from immigrants to natives, from non-whites to whites, from young people to the aging, and, by coincidence, from the Democratic to the Republican Party. The needed votes, it now appears, were never there. The Court’s decision was unanimous; equally important, the majority opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attracted six of the Court’s eight justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy. Even more importantly, the six-justice majority not only decided against the conservative theory, it made it much harder for advocates to pursue the conservative theory in future cases.

California: Supreme Court rejects voting-district challenge that would have weakened Los Angeles’ clout | Los Angeles Times

For the second time in two weeks, a conservative bid to shift the law to the right fizzled at the Supreme Court, when the justices on Monday upheld the current, widely-used method of counting every person—not just voters—when drawing election districts. The unanimous ruling rejected a constitutional claim that states and municipalities may count only eligible voters when dividing up districts. Had the court accepted such an interpretation, it would have shifted power away from cities with fast-growing communities of immigrants, including Los Angeles, Houston and Phoenix, and given more clout to suburban and rural areas. Doing so would have generally strengthened Republicans and undercut Democrats.

National: Man behind gutting of Voting Rights Act: states may have ‘gone too far’ since decision | The Guardian

To his detractors, Edward Blum is one of the most dangerous men in America, a human wrecking ball on a mission to destroy the landmark achievements of the civil rights era and send the country back to a dark age of discrimination and harassment of minorities – in the workplace, in higher education and at the ballot box. That’s some reputation for a slightly built former stockbroker who answers his own phone, sounds nothing like the bullying demagogues who once held sway over the deep south, and even has some misgivings about the consequences of his actions. If anything, his soft-spoken, self-deprecating, consciously neurotic manner is reminiscent of Woody Allen from his early days in standup. Blum’s impact, though, is beyond question. For more than 20 years, working largely on his own, he has orchestrated lawsuits to challenge and, in some instances, dramatically reverse once sacrosanct legal principles. Case after case that he’s filed – on voting rights, on the drawing of electoral districts, on affirmative action – has made its way to the supreme court, often against the predictions of legal scholars, and found a sympathetic reception from the conservative majority.

Editorials: The Next Big Voting-Rights Fight | Emily Bazelon & Jim Rutenberg/The New York Times

Over the past year, The New York Times Magazine has chronicled the long campaign that led to the Supreme Court’s 2013 nullification of the Voting Rights Act’s most powerful provision — its Section 5 — and the consequences that decision has had for minority voters. As I’ve written in our Disenfranchised series, the gutting of Section 5 facilitated an onslaught of restrictive new laws that made voting disproportionately harder for minorities across the country, marking the biggest setback to minority voting rights in the half-century since President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard a new case, Evenwel v. Abbott, that could also have a significant effect on minority political power — specifically, Hispanic voting power. Evenwel stems from a case first instigated in Texas by the same conservative group — the Project on Fair Representation — that helped bring about the decision gutting Section 5 in 2013. Like all of these big election cases, the issues involved are complicated, which may explain why Evenwel has drawn less media attention than it deserves; it does not reduce easily into sound bites. But the Court’s decision in Evenwel could be among the most important developments in politics in 2016, and well beyond. This series would not be complete for 2015 without a review of the case. My colleague Emily Bazelon and I have done our best to break it down as simply as possible, trading off segments to explain the main legal questions at play, the potential consequences and the likely outcomes. A decision is expected by June of 2016.

Editorials: Supreme Court Grapples, Once Again, With Redistricting | Michael Barone/Rasmussen Reports

Fifty-one years ago the Supreme Court handed down its one-person-one-vote decision, requiring that within each state congressional and legislative districts must have equal populations. That gave redistricters a relatively easy standard to meet. Census data provides block-by-block population counts every 10 years, and it’s possible now to draw lines for districts so that their populations are identical or vary by just one person. But redistricting cases keep making their way to the Court nonetheless. One reason is that the Voting Rights Act amendments of the 1980s have been interpreted as requiring the creation of a maximum number of districts with majorities or near-majorities of black or Hispanic residents. This has produced many grotesquely shaped constituencies and much litigation.

Editorials: One (mostly white, older) person, one vote | William H. Frey/The Washington Post

This month in Evenwel v. Abbott, the Supreme Court heard arguments for altering the long-standing principle of “one person, one vote” by substituting voting-age citizens for total population when drawing legislative districts within states. While much has been said about the implications of eliminating noncitizens from the population on which district lines are based, a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in this case could have an even larger impact: shortchanging the interests of minority children and their families. That’s because nearly half of the nation’s under-18 population is made up of racial minorities, while 70 percent of voting-age citizens are white. The United States is undergoing a boom in demographic diversity, but it’s the younger population that’s being transformed first. Removing the racially diverse youth population from the apportionment calculation would intensify a divisive cultural generation gap that pervades politics and public attitudes in this country. Pew Research polling has shown that the mostly white older population is far less accepting of immigrant minorities and government support for social programs than is the increasingly minority younger population. The rise of immigrant-bashing presidential candidate Donald Trump as a hero among older white Republican primary voters represents an extreme version of the pushback against a demographically changing country.

National: Voter equality: The Supreme Court seems suddenly worried about partisan gerrymandering | The Economist

On December 8th, the Supreme Court heard back to back arguments in cases involving the idea that everyone’s vote should bear roughly equal weight—the so-called “one person, one vote” principle that was developed in a series of cases in the 1960s. Evenwel v Abbott, a challenge to the calculus Texas uses to work out population, makes an appearance in this week’s paper. Harris v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which poses a similarly fraught question about district map-drawing, was argued one hour prior to Evenwel. Harris re-ignites a debate most court watchers thought was long settled: whether and to what extent America’s constitution permits partisan considerations to factor into the drawing of electoral maps. Until last week, the justices looked askance only at racial gerrymandering. Now at least a few Supremes seem to be entertaining the idea that there may be sharp limits on partisan political considerations as well, at least where voter equality is at stake.

Editorials: Republicans’ coup de grace on voting rights? | Scott Lemieux/The Week

Last week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case called Evenwel v. Abbott. The case involves an issue of increasing importance to American politics: congressional districting. It got to the Supreme Court because conservative litigators with a successful track record of fighting against the right to vote are trying to turn the logic of pro-voter rights decisions on their head. And it’s very possible that they may succeed again. This most recent battle in the voting rights war involves two of the Warren Court’s most important decisions. One of the tactics that state legislatures used to disenfranchise African-Americans was to draw district lines (or refuse to revise them) in ways that left minority voters massively underrepresented. In Alabama in 1964, for example, some counties included 40 times more people than others. In Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims, the Supreme Court held that such schemes were illegal. States were required to adhere to a “one person, one vote” standard when apportioning their legislatures. Combined with robust enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, these landmark cases helped to end Jim Crow disenfranchisement schemes.

National: Potential Power Shift as Court Weighs ‘One Person One Vote’ | The New York Times

A closely divided Supreme Court on Tuesday struggled to decide “what kind of democracy people wanted,” as Justice Stephen G. Breyer put it during an argument over the meaning of the constitutional principle of “one person one vote.” The court’s decision in the case, expected by June, has the potential to shift political power from urban areas to rural ones, a move that would provide a big boost to Republican voters in state legislative races in large parts of the nation. The basic question in the case, Evenwel v. Abbott, No. 14-940, is who must be counted in creating voting districts: all residents or just eligible voters? Right now, all states and most localities count everyone.

National: Will the Supreme Court Hand Republicans a Redistricting Revolution? | National Journal

The Su­preme Court on Tues­day will de­bate wheth­er to re­write the rules for le­gis­lat­ive re­dis­trict­ing—in a way that would fur­ther strengthen Re­pub­lic­ans’ dom­in­ance in state polit­ics. State le­gis­lat­ive dis­tricts are ap­por­tioned un­der the con­sti­tu­tion­al prin­ciple of “one per­son, one vote.” And, for dec­ades, states have taken that to mean that each dis­trict should con­tain roughly the same num­ber of people. But the chal­lengers in the case be­fore the high court Tues­day say that’s not the right in­ter­pret­a­tion. They say dis­tricts should be ap­por­tioned with equal num­bers of eli­gible voters, rather than total res­id­ents. If the chal­lengers suc­ceed, the case could ush­er in a re­dis­trict­ing re­volu­tion—and big gains for the GOP. Densely pop­u­lated urb­an areas tend to lean Demo­crat­ic, and also to con­tain more people who aren’t eli­gible or re­gistered to vote. If state le­gis­lat­ive dis­tricts were re­drawn to equal­ize the num­ber of eli­gible voters, rather than the num­ber of total res­id­ents, in­ner cit­ies’ polit­ic­al power would likely be di­luted in­to more con­ser­vat­ive sub­urbs.

Editorials: The Court Takes Up One Person, One Vote | The New York Times

On its face, the constitutional doctrine of “one person one vote” seems about as clear as they come: no one’s vote should count more than anyone else’s. In practice this means all state legislative districts must contain roughly equal numbers of people. The court has never defined who counts as a “person,” but most states count all people living in the district, not only those eligible to vote. This issue was before the Supreme Court on Tuesday in a dangerous lawsuit from Texas that could upend the widely accepted method of drawing district lines that is based on the number of people, not voters. Through a series of Supreme Court rulings in the 1960s, the justices developed the one-person-one-vote doctrine in response to persistent abuses of the line-drawing process by white legislators, who diluted the political power of cities that have large populations of African-Americans and other minorities.

Editorials: History Draws a Line on ‘One Man, One Vote’ | Noah Feldman/Bloomberg

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether states’ drawing of legislative districts should be based on total population, as it is now, or voter population, as some conservatives want. The case, Evenwel v. Abbott, raises a fundamental question about who is represented in our democracy. But as so often happens, the oral argument took a turn in the direction of our history with a focus on the drafting of the Constitution. The key moment came when Justice Elena Kagan asked petitioner William Consovoy what would seem like devastating question: The Constitution requires counting total population when apportioning congressmen, so why should the states have to count voters rather than population?

Editorials: SCOTUS wrestles with redistricting cases | Josh Gerstein/Politico

The politically contentious topic of redistricting was front and center at the Supreme Court Tuesday, as the justices wrestled with a pair of cases challenging what factors states can and cannot consider as they draw lines. One case, out of Texas, looks at whether states should be required to take into account the number of voting-age citizens instead of or in addition to broader measures of population when setting up political boundaries. If the justices rule that the “one person, one vote” principle should be measured in part based on eligible voters, areas with high numbers of children or immigrants will likely see a loss of political power, while areas with fewer children and more U.S. citizens see a boost to their clout. Another case, out of Arizona, addresses whether political partisanship and concerns about qualifying for Justice Department approval under the Voting Rights Act are valid reasons to cause imbalances in the population of various districts.

Editorials: Justices will get no satisfaction with a new ‘one person, one vote’ rule | Richard Hasen/Los Angeles Times

At the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the justices struggled over the meaning of the 1960s-era “one person, one vote” rule. Should Texas legislative districts contain an equal number of people — as they do now — or an equal number of eligible voters, as the plaintiffs in Evenwel vs. Abbott demand? Ultimately, the justices may have no choice but to heed some other words written in the 1960s: You can’t always get what you want. Before the 1960s and the “reapportionment revolution,” there were few federal constitutional constraints on how district lines were drawn. In practice, this meant that many states gave much greater voting power to rural areas (with much smaller populations) than urban areas. In California, for example, as J. Douglas Smith explained in his book “On Democracy’s Doorstep,” despite huge increases in the state’s urban population, control of the Senate “remained in the hands of a shrinking rural and small-town minority.”

Editorials: At the Supreme Court, Equal Representation Is in Danger | David Gans/New Republic

This morning, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Evenwel v. Abbott, a huge case about a fundamental question that goes to the very heart of our Constitution’s system of representative democracy. Who counts when states draw election districts—all the people or only voters? The case was initiated by activists who seek to empower certain voters at the expense of the entire population, which in Texas would tilt power toward more rural and, yes, conservative areas of the state. But the Constitution settles this question, and Evenwel should begin and end with the text and history of the Constitution. The Constitution guarantees equal representation for equal numbers of people. Our Constitution is based on the idea that all persons—whether or not they are voters—should be represented in our democracy. This is apparent in the Census Clause, which requires an “actual Enumeration” of all the people of the nation for purposes of federal representation, the disbursement of federal funds, and other ends. It is also contained in the Fourteenth Amendment, which requires “counting the whole number of persons in each State” and guarantees “equal protection of the laws” to any “person,” not merely voters. In these and other ways, the Constitution is clear: Ours is a representative democracy open to all. Indeed, Sue Evenwel’s argument that representation should be based only on the voting population was flatly rejected during the debates over the Fourteenth Amendment, when the amendment’s framers reaffirmed total population as the Constitution’s system of representation.

National: Latino Clout Turns on Supreme Court View of One-Person-One-Vote | Bloomberg

It turns out the idea of “one person, one vote” isn’t as simple as it sounds. The U.S. Supreme Court will put that half-century-old constitutional principle to the test Tuesday, hearing an appeal that liberal groups say would transform the way legislative maps are drawn, giving more voting clout to Republican strongholds and less to Hispanic communities. The debate centers on an issue that until recently had appeared to be settled. For decades, map-drawers virtually everywhere have tried to equalize the size of districts based on their total population. Now an appeal pressed by two Texans, including a Republican county chairwoman, says the measure should be eligible voters, an approach that would reduce representation for areas heavy with children and non-citizens.

Editorials: Up Next at the Supreme Court: A Challenge to Equality for All Americans | David H. Gans/New Republic

The country’s most dangerous legal mastermind returns to the Supreme Court this week. Ed Blum is not a lawyer. Instead, he recruits plaintiffs, hires counsel, and helps to finance litigation designed to move the law sharply to the right on issues of race and voting. Two years ago, Blum helped to bring two cases to the Supreme Court, Shelby County v. Holder, which sought to gut the Voting Rights Act, and Fisher v. University of Texas, which was designed to strike down affirmative action in college admissions. Now, with two cases from Texas, including a second trip to the Supreme Court for the Fisher case, he is hoping to rewrite the Fourteenth Amendment’s broad guarantee of equality, seeking to sharply limit affirmative action on college campuses and deny unnaturalized immigrants, children, and others equal representation in state legislatures. Blum’s campaign seeks to turn the Fourteenth Amendment into an obstacle to efforts to ensure real equality, denying the government the power to redress our nation’s long history of racial discrimination.

Editorials: Evenwel and the Next Case | Daniel Tokaji/ACS

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear argument in Evenwel v. Abbott. The subject of the case is the meaning of the “one person, one vote” rule. The appellants argue that the Constitution requires equality of eligible voters among legislative districts. This argument is unlikely to carry the day – in fact, the appellants may well lose unanimously. Evenwel is still an important case, however, because what the Court says will affect how states draw state legislative districts after the next census and possibly even sooner. The hard question isn’t the disposition of Evenwel but rather its implications for the next case. The “one person, one vote” rule requires that legislative districts be drawn on the basis of population. Where single-member districts are used, each district must be of approximately equal population. In Reynolds v. Sims, the Supreme Court held that the “one person, one vote” rules applies to state legislative districting. This ended the states’ practice of using districts with very different populations – some with disparities over 40:1 – which generally advantaged rural areas at the expense of urban and suburban areas.

National: How Far Will The Supreme Court Go In The Big New Voting Rights Case? | TPM

Almost everyone in the voting rights community agrees that the unexpected case challenging long-held assumptions about the concept of “one person, one vote” — which is being heard by the Supreme Court next week — could have devastating consequences. But a point of contention among experts is what threat a more incremental decision poses to the already crippled Voting Rights Act. The case is called Evenwel v. Abbott. It is coming out of Texas, where the challengers are contesting the state legislature’s senate redistricting plan. At issue is whether the use of total population to draw districts — as Texas and other states have near universally done — is unconstitutional. The challengers suggest that some other metric — perhaps one that counts districts by citizens or by eligible voters — is preferable. They say their votes have been diluted because they live in a district that has a higher percentage of eligible voters compared to district that is roughly the same size in total population, but has a lower rate of voter eligibility — in part because of the presence of Latino noncitizens.

National: Meaning of ‘One Person, One Vote’ at Stake at Supreme Court | Associated Press

Texas was the big winner in the 2010 census when it picked up four congressional seats, due mainly to growth in its Hispanic population. A Supreme Court case being argued Tuesday threatens to diminish Latinos’ clout and benefit white, rural voters. Two voters in Texas are asking the court to order a drastic change in the way Texas and every other state divides their electoral districts. Rather than basing the maps on total population, including non-citizens and children who aren’t old enough to vote, states must count only people who are eligible to vote, the challengers say. They argue that change is needed to carry out the true meaning of the principle of one person, one vote. They claim that taking account of total population can lead to vast differences in the number of voters in particular districts, along with corresponding differences in the power of those voters. A court ruling in their favor would shift more power to rural areas and away from urban districts in which there are large immigrant populations that are ineligible to vote because they are too young or not citizens.

National: Supreme Court Digs Into Redistricting | Bloomberg

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.

National: The New Attack on ‘One Person, One Vote’ | The Nation

In 1963, while preparing for his speech atthe March on Washington, John Lewis saw a photo in The New York Times of a group of black women demonstrators in Rhodesia holding signs that read: one man, one vote. The 23-year-old chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) adopted the phrase as a rallying cry against the disenfranchisement of black Americans in the segregated South. “‘One man, one vote’ is the African cry,” Lewis said at the Lincoln Memorial. “It is ours, too. It must be ours.” Following the March on Washington, SNCC made “One man, one vote” its official slogan. That the Supreme Court is even hearing the ‘Evenwel’ case is a major victory for the plaintiffs. At the same time as Lewis’s speech, “One man, one vote” was being debated before the nation’s highest court. For decades, elected offices in many places were not based on equal population, giving conservative lawmakers from rural areas far more influence than liberal lawmakers from urban areas. “In the American South,” wrote Douglas Smith in On Democracy’s Doorstep: The Inside Story of How the Supreme Court Brought “One Person, One Vote” to the United States, “malapportionment served as a cornerstone of white supremacy, ensuring the overrepresentation of the most ardent segregationists and thus further delaying the realization of civil and voting rights for African Americans.”

Editorials: ‘One person, one vote’ isn’t broken, and the Supreme Court shouldn’t fix it. | Nathaniel Persily/The Washington Post

Anyone who teaches or writes about election law has one Supreme Court court case that he or she finds outrageous. For some, it is Shelby County v. Holder, the decision striking down a core provision of the Voting Rights Act. For others, it is Citizens United v. FEC, which struck down regulations of election-related spending by corporations and unions. If the Supreme Court sides with the appellants who seek to redefine the “one person, one vote” rule so that districts may be drawn only around eligible voters, mine will be Evenwel v. Abbott. The case will not receive the attention of the other two, but it represents all that is wrong with constitutional litigation around election law — in particular, the effort to use the courts to achieve anti-minority outcomes that even the majoritarian political process would not tolerate.