Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - May 18, 2018 


Giuliani says Trump will likely start preparing for a sit-down with Robert Mueller. Also on the rundown: A new report says SNAP changes would require a massive expansion of bureaucracy; and in the West, there's a win for sage grouse.

Daily Newscasts

Supreme Court Ruling Ensures Every Person Counts

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on a Texas case, reaffirming the "one person, one vote" rule in drawing legislative districts. (K_Connors/morguefile.com)
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on a Texas case, reaffirming the "one person, one vote" rule in drawing legislative districts. (K_Connors/morguefile.com)
April 7, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Almost a third of Tennessee House seats and 18 percent of state Senate seats now are protected from having any constitutional issues after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this week rejecting a conservative challenge to the "one person, one vote" rule in how states draw their legislative districts.

In a case that originated in Texas, the court ruled districts must be drawn according to the total population, not just the voting-age population.

Michael Li, senior redistricting council with the Brennan Center for Justice, explains why that matters in modern times with population trends.

"Tennessee has the same issues," Li says. "If you go back to the 19th century, populations were much more evenly spread out and there weren't these disparities, but because immigrants tend to move to cities and because families with children increasingly live both in cities and in suburbs, it also would have problems."

The case was a 2014 challenge by a Texas-based conservative group, the Project on Fair Representation, which sought to change the way districts were drawn in the Texas state Senate. The group issued a statement saying it is disappointed in the ruling.

Kathay Feng, national redistricting director for the watchdog group Common Cause, says Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's majority opinion reinforces the premise that, under the Constitution, every person counts.

"You can't base whether or not you're going to give police services or assistance from the fire department based on whether you're old enough to be eligible to vote or to register to vote," says Feng. "It's got to be based on thinking about the total population."

Feng says the concept of including every person, and not just registered voters, in drawing political boundaries should not be a partisan issue.

"There's a lot of people in all parts of the political spectrum who fundamentally believe that this is not a red-blue fight," she says. "This is something that's fundamental to our democracy."

Feng adds the court challenge could have disproportionately affected the nation's growing Hispanic population.

One advocacy group for Latino political involvement estimates that more than half the nation's Latino population would be excluded if only eligible voters were counted in political districts.


Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN