• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court required that U.S. congressional districts within a given state be as nearly equal in population as possible.

A congressional district in Georgia that had a population several times greater than that of other districts brought a class-action suit in order to address the state’s failure to reapportion its districts. Following Baker v. Carr[case]Baker v. Carr[Baker v. Carr] (1962), the Supreme Court, by a vote of six to three, struck down Georgia’s unequal congressional redistricting. In his opinion for the Court, Justice Hugo L. BlackBlack, Hugo L.;Wesberry v. Sanders[Wesberry v. Sanders] first clarified the status of the Court’s authority over congressional redistricting (Baker v. Carr technically covered only state legislative redistricting) by saying that the right to vote was too important to be left without judicial protection, as argued by Justices Felix Frankfurter and John M. Harlan II. Ignoring congressional legislation to the contrary, Black argued that the Constitution mandated that congressional districts should be as nearly equal in population as practical because every voter should be equal to every other voter. He did not call for mathematical precision in drawing the districts but that became the rule for congressional districts after Kirkpatrick v. Preisler[case]Kirkpatrick v. Preisler[Kirkpatrick v. Preisler] (1969).Reapportionment;Wesberry v. Sanders[Wesberry v. Sanders]

Baker v. Carr

Colegrove v. Green

Gray v. Sanders

Kirkpatrick v. Preisler

Mahan v. Howell

Representation, fairness of

Reynolds v. Sims

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