JimWes Thinks

October 13, 2009

Mega-Malapportionment of the US Congress

Filed under: government, politics — Tags: , , — jimwes @ 3:37 pm

The following is a letter I wrote to the editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution as a result of two pro and con articles published on Oct. 12, 2009 titled:   “Should undocumented aliens be counted in the 2010 census?”

See original article at http://www.ajc.com/opinion/pro-con-should-undocumented-161139.html

Dear Mr. Editor:

I believe that I hold an unusual point of view on this issue because:

  • I am a documented alien living in Ecuador where I am retired and under its new constitution am counted in the census and can even vote after 5 years’ residence.

  • I was principal plaintiff in Wesberry v. Sanders (376 US 1), the landmark Supreme Court decision regarding apportionment of the US Congress that gave a second Congressional seat to the Atlanta area and ordered national apportionment according to the Great Compromise of 1787 embodied in the US Constitution.

  • I served as Georgia State Senator from Fulton County during 1963 – 67 (then the 37th District).

  • Through marriage at present I have about 12 documented alien relatives in the US.

  • I am a CPA and specialist on Governmental Financial Management having dedicated my entire career to that field in the US and Latin America.

In my opinion, the official census count of undocumented aliens should have nothing whatsoever to do with the distribution of Federal funds or the apportionment of Congressional Districts.  They should certainly be counted, but separately from citizens and documented aliens and their numbers should not be used for apportionment or funding purposes unless constitutional and provided for by law.

The US Constitution is unmistakably clear in setting forth how Congressional districts are to be established.  Its provisions were ignored for many, many years until our case was adjudicated in 1964.  The resultant malapportionment deprived the voters of Atlanta and many other metro areas of equal representation under the Constitution. In Georgia this was even worse due to white primaries and “county unit” voting.

We achieved great victories in our state in the 1960’s when these evils were eradicated and the principle of “one man, one vote” was established.  This clearly means, until the Constitution states otherwise: “one citizen, one vote.”

If undocumented aliens are to be counted, then the Constitution should be amended to so state.  That is why our founders provided for the Constitutional amendment process.

If additional funding to the states is needed to provide for undocumented aliens, then the Congress should so specify in appropriations laws.  That is why we have a Congress.

But let me conclude by telling you that the malapportionment situation is even worse than ever.

I and other US private citizens residing temporarily or retired abroad are not to be counted in the 2010 census, thus not provided Congressional representation in the reapportionment process.

These two policies now being executed for the 2010 census:

  • counting undocumented aliens within the country, and

  • not counting private citizens living abroad

nullify the historic Supreme Court decisions of the 1960’s and result again in a malapportioned Congress as we had before.

It seems that in Congressional malapportionment as in many areas of life, what goes around, comes around.

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