Today the Supreme Court agreed to hear a Texas case later this year that could rewrite the political map for Latinos in states with a large number of undocumented residents.
Since the 1960s, the high court has enforced the “one person, one vote” rule to require that election districts be roughly equal in population. This rule is based on the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. and it is applied to all election districts, whether for members of Congress, state legislators, county supervisors or local school boards.
At least once a decade, these districts may be redrawn based on new census data. The U.S. Census Bureau seeks to count the total population, including noncitizens and immigrants in the country illegally.
In its appeal, the Project on Fair Representation based in Austin, Texas, says the districts should be balanced based on the number of eligible voters. The group sued on behalf of Sue Evenwel, a leader of the Texas Republican Party. She lives in Titus County in east Texas, where her state Senate district had 533,010 citizens of voting age in 2011. However, another Senate district had 372,00 citizens of voting age.
The appeal in Evenwel vs. Abbott argues that her right to an equal vote is being denied because Texas officials relied on the census data to balance the districts. Requiring states to switch to counting only citizens will “ensure that voters are afforded the basic right to an equal vote,” her lawyers said.
Forcing states like California and Texas to rewrite districts based on citizens versus residents brings up all sorts of second-order shenanigans, the one off the top of my head is again, forcing these states to identify the undocumented rather than relying on estimates and then deporting them en masse. There’s a lot of messy things that could result from a SCOTUS order along those lines.
We’ll see where this goes, but this seems on first pass like yet another GOP attempt to harm minority voters through the Well Actually process.
States do not have jurisdiction to do deportations. The issue has to be handled by Immigration at the Federal level.
If you leave aside the illegal immigrant issue and just look at demographics going by eligible citizens only harms the young too. Even though a minor might not be of age, he has legitimate issues and will eventually (sometimes the day after an election) be eligible to vote. In the mean time adults that can vote often consider their children and grandchildrens interest in a vote. Representatives of all kinds have always been supposed to consider the interests of those in their district even if they can’t vote. Redistricting is only every 10 years. Many of those ineligible now will be soon. I just can’t see this as actually being good for citizens.
It also ignores the interests of legal immigrants who are going to be citizens presently. Regions with noticible legal immigrants also usually have an economic tie to the process and the people. I am possibly not expressing it well, but their friends and relatives are probably voting in ways influenced by the legal immigrants interests.
I am fine with voters in districts with these populations having a slightly bigger influence.
Fear of illegal immigrants is mostly fear of imaginary hoards. I hope the supreams shoot this down,
mai naem mobile
Off topic but I am excited. Rep Ann Kirpatrick who represents District 1 in AZ, a rural area is running for John McCain’s Senate seat. She really is a good.candidate. Shes been holding this seat for a few years and thats amazing considering shes got some.Mormon.heavy areas. It also happens to cover the Navajo reservation. Anyhow.I.think with Hilary running it’ll push the woman’s year theme. And a woman beating McCain is just the cherry on top.
I wonder if it’s all bad. If taken seriously, this rule would also prevent districts whose population mostly consists of imprisoned felons from getting extra representation by counting them, even though they can’t vote (there are places whose representation in state legislatures mostly comes from this). To get the representation back, they’d have to give the convicts the vote, which is probably a good idea anyway.
It would also be interesting to see this rule enforced on the level of federal Congressional representation. Should states get representation in Congress based on their population of minorities who they systematically prevent from actually voting? (Unfortunately, I suspect there’s no Constitutional case there because the Constitution explicitly endorses counting total population.)
@gvg: Going by eligible voters would increase the political power of districts with a lot of childless young adults, versus suburban bedroom communities with a lot of children. That might not redound well to the advantage of conservatives.
Though I do think the point that nonvoting children have interests of their own, which their parents are the closest available voters to represent, is a valid one. In arguments over giving children the vote, I recall some proposals to literally give parents extra proxy votes for their children, and my reaction was strongly negative until I reflected that on the level of legislative representation, we already do this! (I’m still not sure it’s a good idea, but it’s less radical than it appears. As it is, I suppose we’re giving extra power to childless people in districts that have a lot of children.)
This would add additional impetus on the part of right wingers to disenfranchise ex-offenders.
As soon as I read the name “Project on Fair Representation”, I knew something was fishy. First we only count citizens, then we define “citizens” as only those people who have served in the military, then fascism! Then the giant space bugs attack – oh wait, I’m confusing this with “Starship Troopers.”
Oops, you said it first (and better).
Which seems to me like the strongest argument in favor of dividing districts the same way. It makes no sense at all to apportion representatives to the states by total population and then draw their districts by a different standard.
There is historical precedent for counting some people as 3/5.
This is, honestly, incredibly short sighted. Districts change a lot in the 10 years between reapportionment. Granted, if you’re termed out in less than 10 years, I can see why you would care, but stepping further back – from a general policy point of view, it doesn’t really make sense to base reapportionment on the number of eligible voters once a decade. A decent number of children in 2010 are going to be voting age by 2020 (basically anyone between ages 8 and 17, so depending on birth rates, half?). Then you have migration issues, which have been part of American history since Jamestown; and immigration/naturalization. Ultimately, it’s missing the forest for the trees.
All of that said, I think if you’re really worried about communities note being represented, I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to increasing the number of representatives in state houses or in congress. It would make the districts smaller and potentially reduce the influences of money on those elections (again, in theory).
I thought the Conservatives like to count people who can’t vote. Like when they counted their slaves as 3/5 of a person to bump up their representation even slaves can’t vote.
@Meg: Well, there you go – problem solved. Just count the undocumented as 3/5 of a person.
I’m sure the census takers will love this.
I figured it would be a matter of time before the right tried to reinstate the 3/5 clause.
His basic ignorance is astounding, is it not?
The only person who can deport anyone right now is Obama and he’s deported more than any president in history. Perhaps you should be addressing your anger towards him and not the Supreme Court or even the GOP.
Not always true, but a useful filter. There is no shortage of organizations whose names suggest a very different agenda from the actual agenda. The paradigm case may be the Free Speech Coalition, which is the lobbying arm of California pr0n producers.
Reading comprehension is important. Zandar is not saying the states would deport. He is saying a federal court ruling upholding the plaintiff could be the first step in identifying and then deporting the undocumented.
Villago Delenda Est
Bypassing the elegant solution for a more complicated method that can be gamed, pretty much like a GOP caucus.
These people are dishonest to the core.
Villago Delenda Est
@mai naem mobile: This assumes she’ll face McCain in the general, which is no sure thing, seeing as the Teatards are in revolt and want to bring the RINO liebral McCain down.
Villago Delenda Est
@Knowbody: You’re still a fucktard. Haven’t changed a bit.
It seems to me that if a given district were loaded with undocumented immigrants who can’t vote, that would be advantageous for the Republicans. It means a smaller number of people could control outcomes from that district. Republicans are all about the fewest voters having the most influence.
It’s all part of the eventual GOP move (back) to one landowning male, one vote.
If fewer undocumented immigrants or resident aliens are registered as voters (I have a hard time believing they would deal with the children issue) then that means a district that encompasses El Paso, say, would suddenly be smaller. It would then gobble up part of the exurban and rural areas, but I would guess those areas would still be demographically disadvantaged compared to the urban center of El Paso.
This would seem to actually HELP minority representation, because it would spread out those urban voter sinks that throw all the minorities into one big district.
@Villago Delenda Est: well, the nym.
@Knowbody: Not really defending Obama on this one, but a high percentage of the deported people were turned away at the border, not pulled from jobs, families, etc.
Also, the GOP complained about “open borders” and said they wouldn’t consider immigration reform until deportations increased. Foolishly, perhaps, Obama believed them. His bad.
So, they deserve a little finger pointing too.
Which anti-abortion organization is demanding that fetuses be counted?
Fetus don’t count, not to the mom and not to the pro choice folks