Supreme Court Hears Arguments On ‘One Person One Vote’

Today was a redistricting  “trifecta” day at the U.S. Supreme Court where the Court:

  1. Decided Shapiro v McManus, a decision requiring that only 3-judge federal panels review statewide redistricting challenges, holding that “Section 2284(a)’s prescription could not be clearer. Because the present suit is indisputably “an action . . . challenging the constitutionality of the apportionment of congressional districts,” the District Judge was required to refer the case to a three-judge court.”
  2. Heard arguments in Harris v.Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission where the alleged desire to gain partisan advantage for one political party justified intentionally creating over-populated legislative districts that results in thousands of voters being denied Equal Protection because their individual votes are devalued, violating the one-person, one-vote principle, and
  3. Heard arguments in Evenwel v Abbott, where, according to Adam Liptak in a New York Times story, the Court will “consider who must be counted in drawing voting districts: all residents or just eligible voters?”

As discussed on this blog, an Evenwel decision directing localities to use a voting age based or similar database could bring a challenge to New York’s state and local legislative bodies. In the State Legislature, upwards of 5 to 7 Assembly districts could shift to upstate New York as well as 2 Senate districts.

The Solicitor General supported the appellees in today’s argument, citing from the New YorkAttorney General’s amicus brief referring to New York County having a non-voting age population of 9% as opposed to Kings County’s 30% non-voting age population. Those numbers were developed for the arguments, in part, by this author.

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