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Volume15
Year2006
TitleCourts, Congress, and Public Policy, Part II: The Impact of the Reapportionment Revolution on Congress and State Legislatures
Author(s)Jeffrey R. Lax & Mathew D. McCubbins
First Page199
AbstractBefore the "reapportionment revolution," decades of precedent held that the legislative district boundaries were not justicable, no matter how little the districts reflected population distributions. In Baker v. Carr, a majority of justices declared for the first time that courts could indeed address these disparities. Chief Justice Earl Warren thought his reapportionment decisions the most important of his tenure on the Supreme Court. This Article evaluates the impact of these decisions on legislative politics and policymaking.
We examine three indicators of change. In the first, we test the impact of two key reapportionment cases, Reynolds v. Sims and Wesberry v. Sanders, on policies favoring rural and urban interests.
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The Second effect of reapportionment that we study is the relationship of Southern Democrats to the rest of the Democratic party in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate.
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In our third test, we examine the political changes wrought by a similar set of cases affecting the California legislature.