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Evenwell v. Abbott

Citation. 136 S. Ct. 1120 (2016)
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Brief Fact Summary.

Evenwel challenged Texas’ policy of drawing districts by total population.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Dividing legislative districts by total population is constitutional.


Texas draws its legislative districts by total population (as do all other states). Evenwel challenged the policy, arguing that dividing it by total population produces unequal districts when measured by vote-eligible population. They argue that vote-eligible population should be used to ensure that votes will not be devalued in relation to citizens’ votes in other districts.


Does drawing voter districts based on total population violate Equal Protection?


No, it does not. A state may draw legislative districts based on total population (as opposed to voter-eligible population).


Justice Thomas

The Court has never provided a sound basis for one-person, one-vote. Again, the Court has not done so here. In fact, there is no one-person, one-vote principle. It should actually be left to the states to determine how they want to apportion their districts.


The Fourteenth Amendment calls for apportionment of congressional districts based on total population. The Equal Protection Clause contains a one-person, one-vote principle. There is no conflict between total population apportionment and Equal Protection.

Additionally, establishing voter-eligible apportionment as a constitutional command would upset all 50 states and countless local jurisdictions.

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