Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 :::

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld West Virginia's congressional redistricting plan against a challenge that small population variations among its three congressional districts violate the Constitution.
Both the state House and Senate passed the map with bipartisan and nearly unanimous margins. The difference between the smallest and largest districts was about 4,900 people.
The minimum standard deviation nationally among districts due to the requirement that states have integer numbers of districts is about 30,000; if you exclude those states with only one representative, it's slightly lower than that. (Excluding states with only one representative, the logarithmic standard deviation, which I believe is actually minimized by the algorithm for allocating representatives, is 3.98%; including those states, it's 4.63%.) (Actually, I think the algorithm minimizes the standard deviation of the logarithm of the ratio of population to representatives by state, rather than weighting them by number of districts, as I've done. For what it's worth, that number is 9.59%, considerably higher, with Delaware and Montana getting a lot more weight.)

Anyway, if the opinion is that, with an in-state variation an order of magnitude less than that, making the variation smaller is not an overwhelming priority, then I regard that as a victory for common sense over one of the admittedly more benign forms of absolutism.  I'm not a big fan of protecting incumbents, and I'm a bit wary of anything election-related that is passed nearly unanimously by a state legislature, but I have trouble regarding the variation per se as an issue.

::: posted by dWj at 12:45 PM

If someone knows what the in-state standard deviations were before redistricting -- i.e. how much they changed due to population changes over the course of 10 years -- that would be another interesting comparator.
I've thought line-drawers should be encouraged - or at least allowed - to keep an eye on estimates for relative population growth over the next decade when drawing lines. I.e., parts of the state that are expected to grow more over the next decade should have districts with fewer people than the districts in the slower-growing part of the state.

The biggest advantage I can see of requiring strict equality standards is that it limits the discretion of those in power.

Post a Comment

Comment Policy

Dollars and Jens
Steven's web-site

Kitchen Cabinet
Colby Cosh
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Corner
The Bleat from James Lileks
Tim Blair
Daily Ablution
Mickey Kaus
Dave Barry
How Appealing
Virginia Postrel
Reason's "Hit and Run"
Captain's Quarters
Roger L. Simon
Power Line
IWF's InkWell
Blogs for Bush
Chetly Zarko
Signifying Nothing
Cosmo Macero
Hub Blog
Ex Parte from Harvard Law's Federalists
Harvard CR blog
Priorities & Frivolities
Daley News
Emil Levitin
Politica Obscura
Wave Maker
Town Watch
Worcester County Repubs

Election '08
Don't Vote
Dave Barry
John McCain

Other Sites of Note
Townhall columnists Cambridge Republican City Committee
Cambridge Chronicle
Robert Winters
Boston Herald
Boston Globe
Boston Metro
Channel 5
Commonwealth Mag
Fox News
Massachusetts Republican Assembly
Robert Benchley Society

U.S. Constitution
9/11 commission report [7 Meg PDF]
Iraq Survey Group report
Fahrenheight 9/11 deceits


Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

Powered by Blogger