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What is the US Supreme Court case Reynolds v Sims?

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November 29, 2009 10:27PM

Reynolds v. Sims, 377 US 533 (1964)

Reynolds v. Sims established the "one man, one vote" rule (also called "one person, one vote") that held state political districts of unequal size resulted in under-representation of some citizens' interests and over-representation of others'. This was considered "unrepublican," per Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution, and unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause. In order to meet constitutional standards, districts had to be reapportioned so each had approximately equal population.

Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 US 1 (1964), a case heard slightly earlier the same year as Reynolds, applied the equal apportionment principle to Districts of the US House of Representatives.

Both the Wesberry and Reynolds decisions were predicated on the landmark ruling in Baker v. Carr, 369 US 186 (1962), in which the US Supreme Court decided reapportionment of state legislative districts was not a "political question" that should be resolved through legislation. The Court found legislative conflicts of interest raised justiciable issues that could be addressed and resolved by the Federal courts.


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