Political Gerrymandering and Truly Reflecting the Body Politic

International Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (2):185-195 (2010)
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Abstract

According to Federalist President John Adams, the legislative assembly “should be an exact portrait, in miniature, of the people at large, as it should think, reason and act like them.” It is one thing to have the legislative assembly reflect the true composition of the people at large and quite another to prearrange the voting districts so as to better ensure the desired assembly, irrespective of the verisimilitude between the composition of the people and the assembly. In such district-engineered elections, the legislative assembly may not reflect the true complexion of the people as a whole but rather the complexion the engineers ideally desire the people as a whole to have. Politically inspired district drawing, unlike its racially motivated counterpart is deemed constitutionally acceptable, save at extremes, by most members of the United States Supreme Court and non-justiciable by some members thereof. There are powerful and complex arguments investigated supporting both positions

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