The One Senator, One Vote Clause
Eskridge, William N., Jr., Constitutional Commentary
Article I, section 3, clause 1 provides that the Senate "shall be composed of two Senators from each State, * * * and each Senator shall have one Vote." The requirement that each state have two Senators was part of the "Great Compromise" reached in Philadelphia, and may still be defensible today, to assure that the Senate would be a deliberative body with relatively few members and that the interests of the states qua states would be represented. The requirement that each Senator have one vote was also part of the Great Compromise but is much harder to defend today. In my opinion, the "one Senator, one Vote" clause is the most problematic one remaining in the Constitution.
The United States Senate flouts the constitutional principle of "one person, one vote," in large part because of the "one Senator, One Vote" clause. Chief Justice Warren said as much in Reynolds v. Sims,(1) where the Court held that state apportionments following the example of the Senate violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Chief Justice wrote:
* * * The right of a citizen to equal representation and to have [his or her] vote …
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Publication information: Article title: The One Senator, One Vote Clause. Contributors: Eskridge, William N., Jr. - Author. Journal title: Constitutional Commentary. Volume: 12. Issue: 2 Publication date: Summer 1995. Page number: 159+. © 1998 Constitutional Commentary, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1995 Gale Group.