U.S. Government Asks for More Time to Respond to Lawsuit in U.S. Supreme Court on Size of U.S. House

On August 26, 2010, the plaintiffs in Clemons v U.S. Department of Commerce had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear that case, 10-291.  The issue is whether the Constitution implicitly requires that the size of the U.S. House of Representatives be increased, because at its current size, it is impossible for “one man, one vote” principles to apply, because U.S. House districts cannot cross state lines.  As a result, the voters of Montana only have one member of the U.S. House, and the voters of Wyoming also have one member of the U.S. House, but Montana has almost twice as many people as Wyoming.

The response of the Solicitor General was due September 29, but the Solicitor General has obtained an extension until October 29.  One can read the Jurisdictional Statement of the plaintiffs at www.apportionment.us.


U.S. Government Asks for More Time to Respond to Lawsuit in U.S. Supreme Court on Size of U.S. House — 24 Comments

  1. One brain dead frivolous case — deserving major sanctions.

    14th Amdt, Sec. 2.

    Sorry – NO one person, one vote between the States — at the moment

    However — A REAL Const. Amdt. —
    1. Uniform definition of Elector
    2. P.R. – legislative bodies
    3. Nonpartisan App.V. – executive/judicial officers

    = REAL Democracy to END the EVIL ANTI-Democracy minority rule systems in the U.S.A. and State regimes.

    Sorry – for 1787 math MORONS — gerrymanders are mass death and destruction — sooner rather than later.

    U.S.A. Senate /Prez gerrymanders in 1860 = about 620,000 DEAD Americans on both sides in 1861-1865.

  2. I imagine the case will fail; the constitution suggests that lots of things are a good idea, but the supreme court usually won’t take that to mean that it’s required.

    Although I’m curious what the smallest number of seats is that, by the Huntington-Hill method /without/ setting an automatic floor of one seat, would give every state at least one seat. My gut says somewhere in the low to mid 600.

  3. #1 — Are you calling for the elimination of the states and turning the USA into a unitary republic? That is contrary to the federalist system that the founders wanted.
    The truth is that, right or wrong, the colonies/states wanted to keep their separate identities.

    I have one question about the lawsuit. How many seats would the House of Representatives have under the remedy sought by the plaintiffs? Because if the House is going to have one representative for each 30,000 people as stated in the Constitution, the House of Representatives would have roughly 10,000 members (based on 300 million flat). That number would be unmanageable. I believe, however that the House could be increased in size to, let’s say for instance, 551.

  4. The good thing about a House with 10,000 members would be it would be tough for special interests to bribe them all! With electronic voting techniques the entire body could meet from a distance. The technology exists it would just be the “want to” that will kill any chance for this to actually occur.

  5. 4 – Another good thing about 10,000 House races every other year is that corporations would never run out of opportunities to spend mone…er, sorry, I meant to say “exercise their rights as ‘persons’ to speak freely.”

  6. # 3 NO — READ the FEDERALIST

    U.S.A. regime — mainly to be a national defense regime — just as during the 1775-1783 American Revolutionary War — BUT with a *regular* executive branch and federal courts.

    States continue for most domestic stuff.

    However — ANTI-Democracy minority rule gerrymanders control ALL currently in the U.S.A. and State regimes.

    It shows. ALL the larger govts in the U.S.A. are de facto bankrupt — due to special interest gangs (warfare, welfare, etc.) looting the regimes since 1929.

    All govt accumulated debts now about 16 TRILLION – quite enough to cause TOTAL chaos when folks demand CASH back.

    The party hacks on SCOTUS subverted the Constitution in 1936 onwards with the JUNK general welfare and interstate commerce cases — thus the arrogant powermad gerrymander monsters in Deficit City de facto trying to wipe out the States.

    Will 2 Nov 2010 be the beginning of the END of the *United* States of America ??? Stay tuned. Stuff happens in rotted to the core regimes in world history.

    P.R. and App.V.

  7. Anyone who wants to play the Huntington-Hill game can get a spreadsheet http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oklpdiscuss/files/
    scroll down to Appor1775Cen2000.xls Been there done that myself. I’m a secessionist now. Just divide the country into 1775 republics and apportionment gets really easy. Your Rep. would probably live on your block.

  8. #8 What the spreadsheet doesn’t measure is the equality between congressional districts, which is the basis of the lawsuit.

    Also, DC is to have as many electors as if it were a State, except not more than the least populous State. So as Wyoming gets extra electors, so does DC.

  9. @3: The text *in* the Constitution says one US Rep for every 30,000 people is the maximum number of US Reps:

    “The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, . . .”

    Our current US House has less than 1/20 of a US Rep per 30,000 people — so it passes muster with that requirement.

    Now, the text *not* in the Constitution — the actual first amendment in the Bill of Rights — is another matter:

    “After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.”

    Maybe the reason this one never passed is that change from less” to “more” in the final clause — but if we take the overall purpose of the amendment as being to limit the size of districts, the number of people one representative had to represent, then that could be a scrivener’s error. And in that case, if that amendment had been passed — and no others on the subject had passed since — we’d have a US House of about 6,000 members now.

    (Of course, one could argue that it’s a bit easier to communicate with more people these days — and that this makes it easier to represent them. OTOH, I’m not sure that holds up with the performance of the current Congress in terms of *representing* us. Are you better represented than you were two centuries ago? . . . ;] . . .)

  10. I wonder…since corporations have been defined as “persons” by the USSC (an action that Richard “dispassionately” endorses), is it possible that if we were to count corporations domiciled in Delaware that Delaware would be owed 1 or 2 more reps in the House?

  11. Statement ll is factually untrue. There is nothing in Citizens United that defines corporations as persons. As Justice Stevens said in his dissent, it was already established law that corporations have free speech rights. For example, in 1978 the US Supreme Court had said states could not ban corporations from speaking about ballot measures, in Belotti v First National Bank of Boston.

  12. Statement 12 is just short of an outright lie.

    Did I say anything about the Citizens case?


    Has the USSC effectively defined corporations as persons?


    And if you don’t believe me, will you believe Justice Black? In speaking of what I consider the worst decision in the history of the USSC, Hugo Black said: “In 1886, this Court in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, decided for the first time that the word ‘person’ in the [14th] amendment did in some instances include corporations.”

    That settled law was certainly the foundation for the Citizens United case, perhaps the second worst decision by the USSC, and Richard knows that as well as I.

    Richard has repeatedly supported these dreadful decisions, and apparently cares not a whit of their effects. I do. Chief among these is the relegation of all of the space devoted on his own blog to third parties, equitable ballot qualification processes and equal voting rights to about the same relative significance and value as a box of packing popcorn. As more and more power is ceded to corporate “persons” to exercise their rights to “free speech,” the possibility of progress on any of those fronts approach is nil. Unrigging the two-party “game” is simply not in the economic interests of corporate “persons,” and I doubt Richard is stupid enough not to understand that.

  13. Just good common sense supports increasing the members of the House from 435 to 1000. With electronic voting etc., such a House would not be unmanagable. House members would be in theory closer to their constituents, and if a 1000 member House proves to be too unmanagable, Congress can always reduce it.

  14. The 14th amendment is not the same amendment as the 1st amendment. The freedom of speech part of the 1st amendment relates to all entities, not just persons.

    Citizens United depends on the 1st amendment, not the 14th amendment. Whether corporations are persons for purposes of equal protection has nothing to do with Citizens United or free speech.

  15. The MORON party hack Supremes have been screwing up corporation stuff since the early 1800s.

    Corp. chapter NOT brought up in C.U. by the armies of MORON lawyers, amicus profs, clerks and esp. the SCOTUS MORONS.

    Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769)
    Sir William Blackstone

    BOOK 1, CHAPTER 18
    Of Corporations


    THESE artificial persons are called bodies politic, bodies corporate, ( corpora corporata ) or corporations: of which there is a great variety subsisting, for the advancement of religion, of learning, and of commerce; in order to preserve entire and for ever those rights and immunities, which, if they were granted only to those individuals of which the body corporate is composed, would upon their death be utterly lost and extinct.
    plus a whole lot more by B. about the FICTIONAL stuff about corporations.

    Are Constitutions written for HUMANS and NOT FICTIONAL stuff ???

    Part of the problem is the general incorporation laws in the States (from circa 1830).

    For the clueless — B.C. is one of THE main works of Western Civilization — went thru scores of British and American editions for about 100 years — until the party hacks started wiping out the old *common law*.

  16. Jesus Christ, Richard, are you really this dense? The 14th amendment provides equal protection…to persons. 1st Amendment and corporations have equal First Amendment rights ONLY if they persons.

    Or does a head of cauliflower have the right of free speech in this country?

  17. 19 –

    I can answer my last rhetorical myself. It’s clear from the fact that you run a blog that the answer is “yes.”

  18. #18 IF 5 of 9 party hack SCOTUS MORONS say a cauliflower is a person, THEN surely they are correct ???

    See the Constitution Annotated — and the zillion SCOTUS cases later OVER-RULED — as being INSANE — like a growing number of the New Age SCOTUS senile MORONS.

  19. #18, the First Amendment existed for 77 years before the 14th amendment was passed. Do you think the 14th amendment shrinks the 1st amendment?

    And why do you refuse to tell us all what state you live in? The reason I asked is that chances are good that you live in a state in which that state government has never passed a state law saying corporations can’t speak about candidates for state office.

    And why do you use insulting language? If you were really sure of your position, you wouldn’t do that.

  20. 14th Amdt – each of the 4 substantive sections had separately failed earlier in 1866.

    TOTAL party hack pressure was put on the many new Elephants — a last chance in the 1866 election to avoid having a continuation of the Civil War

    — after the MORON Prez. A. Johnson let the ex-slave regimes try and resume business- as- usual — i.e. such 1865-1866 regimes enacted the infamous Black Codes — de facto having many of the slave type laws continue to apply to ex-slaves.

    The MORON Supremes have yet to detect what happened with the 2nd sentence of 14th Amdt, Sec. 1

    1. PI refers to U.S.A. CONSTITUIONAL PI.

    2. DP refers to STATE DP.

    3. EP refers to STATE EP.

    1 and 2 have been totally screwed up by the MORON Supremes since 1873 — a mere 133 years of MORONS.

    3. has been screwed up in all sorts of subject areas — ballot access, sex laws, etc. — due to a abymal failure to reproduce ALL of the Black Codes in the FIRST SCOTUS case involved 14th Amdt, Sec. 1 — with the MORON on going of citing earlier WRONG precedents. One giant EVIL mess.

  21. A bit more —

    DP — taking away rights.

    EP — getting equal rights.

    Much too difficult for SCOTUS MORONS to understand — who apparently get their legal training from a ye olde Cracker Jack box (for older readers) — now from Facebook, Twitter, etc. (for younger readers).

  22. #3, the lawsuit is disingenuous. The philosophical underpinnings of the suit are that either there should be one representative per 30,000 persons, or that the number of representatives should have been increased as the population grew, particularly post-1910. They know that one representative per 30,000 persons is based on a misreading of the Constitution; and that there is no constitutional basis for determining the size of the House other than it have one representative per State, and perhaps implicitly that there be more representatives than senators. So they don’t have a cudgel to make Congress act.

    So they are using the population equality argument that was applied to intrastate districts in the 1960s. But interstate population equality has nothing to do with the size of the total population, assuming you are measuring equality in relative terms (eg 10,000 vs 15,000 in another district is just as bad as 600,000 vs 900,000), but is mainly related to the relative population among smaller States.

    One standard the lawsuit has suggested is that the population per representative be within a range of 10%, which is a standard that the Supreme Court has appeared to accept with respect to state legislative districts.

    To achieve that level of equality requires that the apportionment roughly match the integer ratio of population between States. If there were two States, with population of 500,000 and 750,000; then an apportionment of 2:3 would suffice. But if they had population of 500,000 and 650,000, you would need an apportionment of 3:4 since 2:3 is not close to a ratio of 500:650. With less population, you would need more representatives. If you had three States with populations of 500,000; 650,000; and 750,000; you would need an apportionment of 4:5:6. For these 3 examples, the average congressional district would have either 250,000; 164,000; or 127,000. In general, as you have more States with small populations, you need to keep adding more representatives, faster than you add population.

    Adding more representatives does not monotonically improve equality. For example, in a House of 650 members, Vermont’s single representative would have 94% more constituents than each of Alaska’s two representatives. Incidentally, 650 is very close to the size of the House under the cube root rule (655 in 2000).

    The deviation of the largest to smallest CD relative to the average CD fluctuates, but eventually at 1760, when Nevada would get its 13th representative, it drops below 10%. But if we increased to 1960 the deviation would increase to 25%, as Wyoming’s 3 representatives would complain about the rotten boroughs of North Dakota’s 5 representatives.

    And the number of representative needed to reach a given standard varies wildly from decade to decade. That 1760 representatives would reduce deviation under 10% in 2000 may be an anomaly. The values for previous censuses:

    2000: 1760
    1990: 2170
    1980: 2269
    1970: 3156
    1960: 3045
    1960: 3030 (48 states)
    1950: 1950
    1940: 2458
    1930: 2545
    1920: 2674
    1910: 3098 (violates 30,000/representative provision)

    In 1990, increasing the size of the House from 435 to 442 would have improved equality. But reducing the House to 357 would have improved equality even more. To beat the equity that this modest 18% reduction in the number of representatives would bring, one would have to have balloon the size of the House by 47% to 639.

    Eventually, the plaintiffs admit that they don’t know what the right answer is, just that 435 is the wrong answer. They suggest that Congress be given the opportunity to remedy the problem, but that the court retain jurisdiction. So Congress would be told to “do better”, but left guessing as to what was “good enough”. So the plaintiffs could suggest what they might find acceptable. But simply because the plaintiffs and Congress agree that it is “good enough” doesn’t mean that someone else could not sue. Or even if the court imposed a solution, that solution may not work the next decade.

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