Five states sue for bigger House


People in Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota and Utah think their presence in the US House of Representatives is inadequate, and have persuaded the Fifth Circuit to hear their argument to increase the number of members from its current 435 freeze point.

Judge Edith H. Jones has agreed to seat a three-judge panel to hear the states’ argument that holding House membership to 435 is “egregiously violating the well-established principle of ‘one person, one vote’ affirmed in multiple Supreme Court decisions.”

The three judge panel is said to be a rare and significant move, used only for apportionment case. If the plaintiffs are successful, the case will go straight to the Supreme Court.

“We’re thrilled that Chief Judge Jones moved so rapidly to approve the motion the very next day requesting the three-judge court,” said Scott Scharpen, founder and president of Apportionment.US, the non-profit organization coordinating the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs. He added, “This is a clear sign that the court is taking this lawsuit with the seriousness that it deserves.”

The plaintiffs are aggrieved that the population of the US was approximately 100M when the House arrived at its current membership total. They note that the 435 number has not changed despite the fact that the population has tripled since it was established.

RBR-TVBR observation: Let’s take this at face value. Five more House seats equals five races without an incumbent which means free-for-all opportunity to the national political committees. Unfortunately of these states one is solid blue (Delaware) and two are solid red (Mississippi and Utah).

However, although South Dakota has been red for the president, it’s been more unpredictable when it comes to the legislature, and Montana has become a poster child for the concept of purple state, so there could be some very interesting races in both.