Suit Seeks to Double Size of House

Posted by

Share Button

Source: Peter Baker / New York Times

The Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether the House of Representatives should be enlarged to produce a fairer distribution of political power.

A group of voters appealed to the court after a special three-judge panel in Mississippi last week rejected their lawsuit seeking to at least double the number of seats in the House in the interest of evening out the sizes of Congressional districts.

The appeal may be just a quixotic bid, given that four justices would have to want to hear the case for the Supreme Court to hear it. But it raises a provocative and largely overlooked issue in a country that prizes itself on a one-person, one-vote democracy: Even in the House, which is supposed to be the most representative government body, some votes are actually worth a lot less than others.

Because each state gets at least one seat, no matter how small its population, and because the overall size of the House essentially has not changed in a century, the number of people represented by a single congressman can vary widely.

According to census data last year, the 960,000 people in Nevada’s Third Congressional District had the same voting power in the House as the 523,000 people in Wyoming’s sole district. That means a Wyoming voter has nearly twice the influence as a Nevada counterpart.

Read the rest here.

Share Button