STAND FOR REDISTRICT - What are Judicially Manageable...

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What are Judicially Manageable Standards for Redistricting? Evidence from History Micah Altman 1 1 Division of Humanities and Social Sciences 228-77, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA 91125. The author would like to thank Morgan Kousser for his guidance during the development of this paper and Daniel Lowenstein for his many helpful comments.
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What are Judicially Manageable Standards for Redistricting? Evidence from History Abstract In the 1960s the courts adopted population-equality measures as a means to limit gerrymandering. In recent cases, the courts have begun to use geographical compactness standards for this same purpose. In this research note, I argue that unlike population-equality measures, compactness standards are not easily manageable by the judiciary. I use a variety of compactness measures and population-equality measures to evaluate 349 district plans, comprising the 3390 U.S. Congressional districts created between 1789 and 1913. I find that different population-equality measures, even those with poor theoretical properties, produce very similar evaluations of plans. On the other hand, different compactness measures fail to agree about the compactness of most districts and plans. In effect, the courts can use any convenient measure of population equality and obtain similar results, while the courts’ choice of compactness measures will significantly change the evaluations in each case. Since there is no generally accepted single measure of compactness, this disagreement among measures raises concerns whether compactness is a readily operationalizable notion, to use a social scientific formulation, or a judicially manegable one, to employ terms from law.
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What are Judicially Manageable Standards for Redistricting? Evidence from History 1. Redistricting rules and electoral results It has long been recognized that the way that election districts are created can affect who wins in an election. A number of recent studies have shown that redistricting has powerful effects. (Gelman and King 1994; Kousser 1995), and several scholars blame redistricting for much of the heavy Democratic loss in the 1992 and 1994 congressional elections. (Hill 1995; Swain 1994) Many scholars who are concerned with these issues have asserted that we can limit the influence of redistricting on elections by requiring that districts satisfy formal geographic properties such as contiguity, compactness and population equality. (Polsby and Popper 1991; Stern 1974) Many judges seem to share the opinion of such scholars that the electoral effects of redistricting can be controlled through formal rules for drawing districts. Contiguity, compactness and population equality are near the heart of many of the recent legal battles over district maps. In particular, the Supreme Court, in two recent redistricting decisions, Shaw v. Reno (1993) and Miller v. Johnson (1995), makes arguments that are closely tied to redistricting mechanisms. In both cases, the Court held
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  • Spring '10
  • Various
  • Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, Congressional District, 2003 Texas redistricting, United States congressional districts

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STAND FOR REDISTRICT - What are Judicially Manageable...

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