The Supreme Court this morning, in Evenwel v. Abbott, unanimously rejected a challenge to how its “one man, one vote” rule is used to draw state legislative districts. The plaintiffs in Evenwel wanted the Court to require Texas’ districts to have roughly equal numbers of eligible voters, rather than equal total populations. A win would have been good news for Republicans; while some districts may have a disproportionate number of children, the two big categories of ineligible voters are illegal immigrants and felons, and both of those tend to be clustered more in Democratic districts.
As a result of Evenwel, the presence of large numbers of illegal immigrants in an area will give that area more representation in state houses and dilute the voting power of Americans eligible to vote. However, the Court did not decide whether to prohibit states from using eligible voters rather than total population to draw state legislative districts. The Court also did not weigh into the debate, extensively covered in the briefs, over whether it would be practical to use citizen-voting-age population (CVAP) data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) to determine the voting-age population.
Evenwel affects only state legislative districts, because the Fourteenth Amendment already explicitly requires that total population, rather than eligible voters, be the basis for drawing House districts: “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed.”
With the death of Antonin Scalia, conservatives should get used to losing at SCOTUS unless and until Ted Cruz wins in November, but realistically, Evenwel was always a long shot. Only Justices Alito and Thomas declined to join the entire opinion by Justice Ginsburg, and both still agreed that there is no Constitutional requirement that state districts be drawn by reference to the number of eligible voters; Justice Thomas, as he often does, wrote alone to argue that the Court never did have a basis in the text or history of the Constitution for the “one man, one vote” rule in the first place.
The post BREAKING: SCOTUS Rejects “One Man One Vote” Challenge appeared first on RedState.
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