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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fixing Illinois Pt. II

The folks at Illinoize were nice enough to republish Fixing Illinois the other day, and some of the commenters were nice enough to point out some problems with my idea of 1 state senator per county. Namingly that the Warren Court of the 1960's ruled that both bodies of a state legislature (but not the federal) required proportional represenation.

My contention on that is the ruling itself is ripe for being reversed. It failed in a number of ways, and over the years has been weakened by subsequent rulings on gerrymandering of districts (which is spawned), and constant court battles over geography.

The ruling also created, by it's over reach, the exact problem it sought to fix. The court ruled that "one man one vote" had to be the rule for both legislatures due to rural overrepresenation in State governments. At the time many states had a Senate made up of 1 senator per county, and a House made up of 2 members per county. And, rightfully, this did lead in many states to over represenation of the rural areas. The decision though, actually created an urban overrepresenation in state government, and destroyed any checks and balances on urban powers in many states.

Instead of doing the common sense thing, and finding that States, like the federal government, needed one population based half of the legislature, and one based on subordinate government entities (counties in my example) Warren's court decided that the Constitution said that both bodies of the republican form of government needed to be represenative based on population.

In fact Section 4 of Article IV of the Constitution only requires a republican form of government for states. Each state was allowed to decide exactly how that government would be set up.
Article V specifically denied the right to amend the Constitution (on a federal level) that underminded the equal sufferage represenation in the US Senate. Warren's court, however found that no such protection was needed for a state's citizens in state government! They found equal sufferage anywhere but the federal government to be unconstitutional!

That's why I think Illinois should adopt a State Senate made up of 1 Senator per county, and challenge the Warren rulings in court based on the States right, under Article IV to set up it's government, and the principle of equal sufferage in representation.

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