The Octogenarian: It’s been one person, one vote since the beginning
In the 1960s, under the guidance, leadership and strong arm of President Lyndon Johnson, Congress passed legislation called the Voting Rights Act, with the common sense idea that every U.S. citizen who is eligible to vote should be allowed to do so.
With these new laws in place, political entities who could not win with massive voter turnout began efforts to suppress that voter turnout. Now, the bad guys do not have to work too hard to accomplish their goal because they have an ally: the American voter.
The American voter, the original free-to-choose world citizen, is too damned lazy and too non-caring to come out and vote when he should. Because of this, they are easy prey for those who want to redistrict away his actual ability to vote in their effort to retain power.
Case in point, our great state of Texas is run by some less-than-honorable Republican politicians who have tried to change the basis of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States by removing the “One Person – One Vote” rule from Texas voting law.
Last week, the Supreme Court promptly shot it down.
Remember, the framers of the 14th Amendment considered at length the possibility of allocating House seats to states on the basis of voter population. According to The Supreme Court, “the true principle of representation in Congress is that voters alone should form the basis, and that each voter should have equal political weight in our government.”
Senator Jacob Howard, who helped pass the 14th Amendment long ago, explained: “The basis of representation is numbers; that is, the whole population except untaxed Indians and persons excluded by the State laws for rebellion or other crime. Numbers, not voters; numbers, not property; this is the theory of the Constitution.”
It cannot be that the 14th Amendment calls for the apportionment of congressional districts based on total population, but simultaneously prohibits, as Texas proposes, States from apportioning their legislative districts on the same basis.
So, there it is: a few-less-than honorable Texas politicians who happen to be Republican tried to steal the great American right of “One Person–One Vote” and control the voting base in our state. Eight judicial giants with different political backgrounds and views, who are still honest American jurists, stopped this voter-theft plan and instituted the law of our land to stop these usurpers from their evil deed.
I’d say this was a victory.
Opinion columnist Ken Levin is a political science senior and may be reached at [email protected]