CA Could Lose Congressional Seats if Supreme Court Changes Law to ‘One Citizen-One Vote’

Photo courtesy of Rob Crawley, flickr

Photo courtesy of Rob Crawley, flickr

While the immediate reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court taking up the “one-person, one vote case” has been liberals and minority groups saying “Oh, S***” and conservatives getting excited, the case is much more complicated than that. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of plaintiffs, it would affect two distinct (and often confused) processes. Most articles I’ve read have focused on the affect of district lines.

However, the (and perhaps most significant) effect would be on the apportionment of congressional seats among the states. As Paul Mitchell has pointed out, states with a greater percentage of undocumented immigrants or documented non-citizen residents or even more kids (California, Texas) would lose congressional seats–since they are not considered in the Census’s Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP).

Let’s pause on the last factor. While most of the commentary has been about undocumented residents, those under 18 would also no longer count. California has the third highest percentage of residents under 18, behind DC and Utah. And, of course, DC doesn’t get House seats. Shouldn’t our kids count when education funding is being decided in Washington?

Then there is the impact on redistricting, which could create a couple of additional Republican districts in California.

For California Republicans and Democrats alike, it’s in the state’s interest on the apportionment issue. The last thing the state could afford is to get bogged down on intra-state partisan district line-drawing while our influence in the House of Representatives is ceded to smaller, less diverse states. It would be bad for our technology and film industries, as well as our ability to influence federal funding formulas that determine how much of our tax dollars come back to the Golden State.

Let’s think about the implications before we drink our Kool-Aid and jump into our partisan corners.

Scott Lay is a Higher education Lobbyist and Publisher of The Nooner

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily


  1. Rob Bernosky says

    Absolutely false. The U.S. Constitution unambiguously states that Congressional Districts are determined by total population. The issue does affect state legislative districts that do not use precise language.

  2. I’m looking for a down side, besides less money for schools that will drain money for teaching citizens. I’m sure that Moonbeam will gladly use his surplus to make up the difference, or they’ll do the normal thing and raise taxes and float more worthless bonds.

  3. Michael McDermott says

    There are Many Ways to Count People (including Children and CFN – Citizens of Foreign Nations) that Do Not Corrupt the Electoral Process.

    The Census 2010 was Partisan in the Extreme – bringing “fundamental transformation’ by bureaucratic fiat ahead of even the Courts.
    However – the Constitution Requires a 10 year Census to Apportion the House of Representatives for Electoral Purposes.

    There is the “Community Survey” part of the Census, which takes in to account many different demographics, and allows Congress to Address population / children / CFN Issues – without the Electoral Process Being Corrupted by counting them as Voters.

    This is little different than the 3/5 compromise of Slavery in the Original Constitution – where slave owners got more power for Their Votes by counting others who Could Not Vote, but were counted as part of the District for Apportionment of Representation.

    It was bad back then and bringing it back has done bad again.

    • askeptic says

      If you will kindly remember, the “Slave” States wanted everyone counted in full-measure; it was the “non-slave” States that wanted slaves not to be counted at all. The 3/5’s count was the compromise showing that Black Lives Matter (to some extent, to some), and reduced the power of the “Slave” States by reducing their overall “census” population..

  4. askeptic says

    The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution begins “We the People of the United States…”, it doesn’t say “We the Residents”.
    “People” means “Citizens”!

    • askeptic says

      …and, since children can be citizens – just not of voting age – they can be counted for the purposes of Apportionment, or not: This is a “political” question, as the Supreme Court would say.

      • Skeptical says

        And to take it further, foriegn nationals and their children are not “under jurisdiction” of the United States laws, and therfore have no franchise in the process. Maybe a political question, but not simply a bi-partisan fuss.

  5. Robert Poole says

    That is the way it should be (one citizen, one vote), not a citizen then you should not be counted in any way for anything.

    • Skeptical says

      California not recieving national assistance for assuming the liabilities of foriegn nationals, illegal or naturalized, would seem to dis-insentivize the whole ‘one world’ outlook, wouldn’t it?

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