Practical concerns about forcing states to abandon the way they have drawn electoral districts for more than 50 years seemed to give a key justice pause Tuesday in a Supreme Court case of immense importance to the nation’s growing Latino population. The court heard arguments in a case from Texas on the meaning of the principle of “one person, one vote,” which the court has said requires that political districts be roughly equal in population. But it has left open whether states must count all residents, or only eligible voters, in drawing district lines. In Texas, and other states with large immigrant populations, the difference is more than academic. Urban districts include many more people who are too young, not citizens or otherwise ineligible to vote.
Two rural Texas voters are challenging the use of total population data in drawing state Senate districts because they say it inflates the voting power of city dwellers at their expense. Their arguments seemed to make some headway Tuesday with Justice Anthony Kennedy, the pivotal vote on so many close high court cases.
When some districts of roughly equal population have dramatically different numbers of eligible voters, shouldn’t Texas “at least give some consideration to this disparity that you have among voters?” Kennedy asked.
Later he wondered whether states could produce districts that were roughly equal in terms of overall population and eligible voters, saying, “Why is one option exclusive of the other? Why can’t they have both?”
Full Article: News from The Associated Press.