On December 8, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Evenwel v. Abbott, one of the most important cases of the term that could have huge implications for U.S. politics.
In 2013, the Texas state legislature drew up district maps in order to fill 31 seats in the state senate, as required by the Texas constitution. To do so, the legislature started with the total population and divided by 31, seeking to equalize the number of people across the districts.
But two registered and active voters, Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger, challenged the redistricting plan. They argued that they were underrepresented because the state looked only at total population. Had legislators used the total number of registered voters, they said, the state would be much closer to meeting the Supreme Court’s “one person, one vote” requirement.
Rick Hasen is the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. He is an expert in election and campaign finance law, and the author of the authoritative Election Law Blog.
Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute in Washington and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. He is also a member of the Center’s Coalition of Freedom Advisory Board.