Most Americans assume that the election of the House of Representatives is based fairly on the geographic distribution of our population.
But if that's true, then how come after the constitutionally mandated reapportionment of 2000 it takes only 35,000 votes in a California district to win a House seat, while it takes 100,000 votes to win a House seat in Indiana, Michigan or Mississippi?
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Reynolds v. Sims (the 1964 landmark case that dictated one person one vote for state legislatures) that "the Equal Protection Clause guarantees the opportunity for
equal participation by all voters." The Court forbade "diluting the weight of votes because of place of residence."
As a result of the 2000 reapportionment, eight states gained at least one House seat: California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. Ten other states lost at least one seat: Oklahoma, Mississippi, Illinois, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut.
None of these states lost a seat because of a declining population. In fact, they all increased their populations.
This redistribution of seats in the House of Representatives also shifted the balance of power for the 2004 presidential election. The number of votes each state has in the Electoral College exactly mirrors the size of its congressional delegation, so California and Florida will be even more important in 2004 than in 2000.
The reapportionment of the House of Representatives every 10 years is required by the Constitution. Because the total number of seats is fixed at 435, it's a zero-sum process: one state's gain must be another state's loss.
A new study just released by the Center for Immigration Studies explains what caused 12 congressional seats to be transferred from some states to other states. This shift in House seats was based on the 2000 census, which counted people - not voters.
The people who were counted in the 2000 census included 7 million illegal aliens and 12 million more noncitizens - legal noncitizens and temporary visitors, mainly foreign students or guest workers. This count created new congressional districts with large non-voter populations.
When the Clinton administration failed to enforce federal immigration laws, and when California Gov. Gray Davis' administration encouraged illegals to come to California in large numbers by nullifying the initiative that would have cut off state-financed social services (Proposition 187), the Democrats accomplished a change in the political landscape to benefit their candidates.
In California's 31st Congressional District, 43 percent of the residents are noncitizens, and in
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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