Legislative Redistricting

legislative apportionment

legislative apportionment, subdivision of a political body (e.g., a state or province) for the purpose of electing legislative representatives. In the United States, the Constitution requires that Congressional representatives be elected on the basis of population. State legislatures, not bound by the constitutional strictures, were apportioned according to considerations including population, as well as geographic size, special interests, and political divisions such as counties or towns. This often resulted in unrepresentative, minority control of the state legislature. The state legislatures were responsible for drawing up districts for the purpose of electing representatives to Congress. Gerrymandering often resulted (see gerrymander). In some states legislatures did not redistrict, despite population shifts, for as many as sixty years. This was the case until 1962 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Baker v. Carr that a voter could challenge legislative apportionment on the grounds that it violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Within nine months of the decision suits for reapportionment were brought in at least 34 states. In 1964, in Reynolds v. Sims, the Supreme Court ruled that population, i.e., the one-person, one-vote principle, must be the primary consideration in apportionment plans for both houses of state legislatures.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Legislative Redistricting: Selected full-text books and articles

The Politics of Reapportionment By Malcolm E. Jewell Atherton, 1962
Principled Limitations on Racial and Partisan Redistricting By Pildes, Richard H The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 106, No. 8, June 1997
Race and Redistricting in the 1990s By Bernard Grofman Agathon Press, 1998
The Redistricting Cases: Original Mistakes and Current Consequences By McConnell, Michael W Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 24, No. 1, Fall 2000
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
State and Local Governments By Charles R. Adrian McGraw-Hill, 1967 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: Chap. 14 "Legislative Behavior and Apportionment"
Representation in Crisis: The Constitution, Interest Groups, and Political Parties By David K. Ryden State University of New York Press, 1996
Librarian's tip: Chap. 7 "The Law of Reapportionment: Party-Poor Theories of Representation"
Demographics: A Casebook for Business and Government By Hallie J. Kintner; Thomas W. Merrick; Peter A. Morrison; Paul R. Voss Rand, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Empowered or Disadvantaged? Applications of Demographic Analysis to Political Redistricting" and Chap. 4 "The Use of Intercensal Population Estimates in Political Redistricting"
Handbook of United States Election Laws and Practices: Political Rights By Alexander J. Bott Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian's tip: Chap. 4 "The Right to Fair and Effective Representation"
The Southern Strategy Revisited: Republican Top-Down Advancement in the South By Joseph A. Aistrup University Press of Kentucky, 1996
Librarian's tip: Chap. 7 "The Redistricting Explanation"
Legislators, Law, and Public Policy: Political Change in Mississippi and the South By Mary Delorse Coleman Greenwood Press, 1993
Librarian's tip: Chap. 4 "The Mississippi Legislature after Redistricting: Structural Continuities and Change" and Chap. 5 "The Mississippi Legislature after Redistricting: Voting Continuities, Ambivalence and Change"
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.