Res­o­lu­tion chal­lenges dis­trict lines

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Phil Wil­lon phil. wil­lon@ latimes. com

SACRA­MENTO — The state Se­nate on Mon­day sent a mes­sage to the U. S. Supreme Court with a res­o­lu­tion urg­ing the jus­tices not to tam­per with the Con­sti­tu­tional prin­ci­ple of “one per­son, one vote.’’

The res­o­lu­tion in­volves a Texas law­suit chal­leng­ing the way vot­ing dis­tricts are drawn.

At is­sue is whether dis­tricts should con­tinue to be based on cen­sus pop­u­la­tion data, which in­clude nonciti- zen im­mi­grants and chil­dren. Con­ser­va­tive chal­lengers want the sys­tem changed so that only cit­i­zens who are el­i­gi­ble to vote are counted.

“Over­turn­ing the longheld prece­dent of ‘ one per­son, one vote’ would be tan­ta­mount to en­shrin­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion and prej­u­dice in the law,” says the res­o­lu­tion, which passed 36- 0.

Cal­i­for­nia Se­nate Pres­i­dent Kevin de León ( D- Los An­ge­les), au­thor of the res­o­lu­tion, said he was “deeply con­cerned by the in­ex­pli­ca­ble de­ci­sion” by the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Since the court es­tab­lished the prin­ci­ple of “one per­son, one vote” in 1964, it has en­sured that all peo­ple in the coun­try have re­ceived fair rep­re­sen­ta­tion, the sen­a­tor said.

“This chal­lenge now is noth­ing more than a cyn­i­cal and trans­par­ent ef­fort to turn back the clock on decades of le­gal prece­dent and re­turn an un­just and un­equal sys­tem of redistricting, one that greatly dis­ad­van­tages di­verse and ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties,’’ De León said.

Switch­ing to elec­toral dis­tricts based on el­i­gi­ble vot­ers would have a ma­jor ef­fect on Cal­i­for­nia and other states with large nonci­t­i­zen pop­u­la­tions, as well as on cities like Los An­ge­les.

De León’s state Se­nate dis­trict, which in­cludes por­tions of down­town Los An­ge­les and the city’s East­side, could be re­con­fig­ured to in­clude other parts of the city.

Another Se­nate leader to ex­press con­cern was Repub­li­can Bob Huff of San Di­mas, who heads the GOP cau­cus. He said all Cal­i­for­ni­ans de­serve rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

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