In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge by two Texas citizens that would have upended the doctrine of One Man, One Vote. The case, Evenwel v. Abbott, was masterminded by highly successful Supreme Court lawyer Ed Blum and his erroneously named Project for Fair Representation. Blum and the plaintiffs claimed that Texas State Senate districts were unconstitutional because they were drawn on the basis of total population instead of the number of eligible voters. The argument was a clever ploy to redirect political power from more liberal urban areas to more conservative rural areas who have higher numbers of eligible voters as a percentage of total population. Although the U.S. Constitution mandates that congressional districts be drawn on the basis of population, there is no such mandate for state legislative districts. Alas, the ploy failed and the Court held that Texas could legally apportion its legislative districts on the basis of total population.
Adopting voter-eligible apportionment as constitutional command would upset a well-functioning approach to districting that all 50 States and countless local jurisdictions have followed for decades, even centuries . . . Appellants have shown no reason for the Court to disturb this longstanding use of total population.
Unfortunately, the Court left open the question of whether a state could use some other basis to draw its districts. Expect another run at this naked attempt for the Republicans to maintain their stranglehold on Texas politics. Right now, the population difference between the largest and smallest districts in Texas is about 8 percent. If the State were to change and instead use the number of eligible voters in each district for apportionment, there would be about a 40 percent difference between the largest and the smallest districts. That would be a remarkable shift of power back to more conservative rural areas and result in unbelievable redistricting battles.