US Supreme Court holds states not required to draw legislative districts based on voter population
US Supreme Court holds states not required to draw legislative districts based on voter population

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday ruled unanimously [opinion, PDF] in Evenwel v. Abott [SCOTUSblog materials] that States may use total population to appropriate state legislative districts, and there is no constitutional requirement that states use voter population in order to divide up legislative districts. This case arose [Oyez Project summary] after the 2010 census when the Texas legislature created a redistricting plan. Appellants argued that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [text] required jurisdictions to draw state and local legislative districts with equal voter-eligible populations, “thus protecting the right of eligible voters to an equal vote.” In opposition, Texas argued that jurisdictions may design voting districts using any population baseline including total population and voter-eligibility population—as long as the choice is rational. The court stated its holding as follows: “In agreement with Texas and the United States, we reject appellants’ attempt to locate a voter-equality mandate in the Equal Protection Clause. As history, precedent, and practice demonstrate, it is plainly permissible for jurisdictions to measure equalization by the total population of state and local legislative districts.”

The Court heard oral argument in Evenwel v. Abbott in December after granting certiorari [JURIST reports] last May.