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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Maybe not the best way to convince Senators.

Nathan Newman makes a very convincing argument that the most appalling thing about Samuel Alito is his oppposition to the Warren court's position on reapportionment

But what is most striking about Alito's statement is this line:

In college, I developed a deep interest in constitutional law, motivated in large part by disagreement with Warren Court decisions, particularly in the areas of criminal procedure, the Establishment Clause, and reapportionment.

For the non-lawyers out there, Alito meant he was against the Supreme Court decisions requiring that all state legislative districts be designed to guarantee "one person, one vote", instead of giving some districts with very few voters the same representation as urban districts with far more voters.

While I strongly believe that most judicial activism by the Warren Court was unneeded or even counterproductive for progressive goals since ongoing democratic mobilization was moving civil rights and feminist goals forward, the reapportionment cases-- Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Syms-- dealt with a problem that democratic voting inherently could not correct, namely the lack of real democracy in most state legislatures.

I fully agree that this is especially appalling, since it means that Alito wishes not deference to a democratically elected body but to an absurd anachronism in which different legislators represent very different numbers of people because their districts have not been changed to reflect demography. I agree with Newman that such a body ought to have no role in a democracy.

Still I am not sure this is the very best way to convince the US Senate not to confirm Alito.

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