Let's Have Even More House Members [Robert Alt]
Since the Senate has now passed the bill to give DC a voting representative, I have a modest proposal for the House as it takes up the bill next week. Let's have even more representatives. After all, as long as Congress is using its authority under Article I, Section 8 to "exercise exclusive legislation" for the District of Columbia to add another member to the House, why stop there? That same section authorizes Congress "to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings . . . "
If Article I, Section 2's requirement that the House be composed of Members chosen "by the People of the several States" isn't a problem for adding a House member for the District, then it shouldn't be a problem for military bases either. And let's face it, members of the military are chronically underrepresented given their transient status. The 2000 and 2008 elections both saw major problems with having military absentee ballots counted — a problem that would be more effectively addressed if bases had their own individual representatives. Let their voices be heard.
The House could seek to add representatives for big bases, like Ft. Hood in Texas, bases in the co-sponsor's home states, or just add one representative for every domestic base. If there are concerns that some portion of the base population already counts toward the now discredited theory of "State" representatives, then choose smaller bases, where the population wouldn't substantially effect the current composition.
Of course, someone might object that this is wrong — that Congress really can't just vote to add new representatives under this section of the Constitution; that this isn't what Article I, Section 8 means when it gives Congress the authority to exercise exclusive legislation; that clearly the other provisions of the Constitution regarding the composition of the House still apply, and you can't just ignore them. Of course, they would be correct, just as those arguments are correct when it comes to the question of illegally adding a representative for DC relying on that very same constitutional clause.
— Robert Alt is deputy director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
BOTTOM-LNE: The number of representatives was capped -BY STATUTE - in 1929; therefore, it can be undone by statute.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
A SIMPLE IDEA TO MAKE AMERICA'S GOVERNMENT EVEN MORE REPRESENTATIVE AND RESPONSIVEGlenn links to a review of the new Larry Sabato book which recommends 23 - YUP TWENTY-THREE! - amendments to the Constitution.
I have a simple idea which would improve both the responsiveness and representativeness of the federal government, and it would NOT require a single solitary change to the Constitution!
I would INCREASE the number of Representatives in the House to 600.
I would assign the new seats by using the US DECENNIAL CENSUS figures - exactly the purpose for which the Census was designed and put into the Constitution by the Framers.
These new seats would not be attached to an incumbent of any party and would therefore be open seats more readily contested fairly - (since incumbents have great electoral advantages and are returned to office so frequently).
Having more Representatives would make each district smaller and reduce the committee responsibilities of each representative and thereby allow her/him to do more constituent work - BE MORE RESPONSIVE.The number of representatives was capped -BY STATUTE - in 1929:The Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929 capped the Membership at that level, creating a procedure for reapportioning state delegations in the House under “the then existing number of Representatives” (see Act of June 18, 1929, ch. 28, 46 Stat 21).It can be undone by statute. A simple majority vote by each body of Congress and a signature by the POTUS.
A body with 600 members is much more manageable now than a body with 420 in 1929. Many representative bodies in the USA and around the world have 600 members and function fine.This change would also have the added benefit of making the electoral college more representative and more accurately reflect the wishes of the people.
Friday, December 02, 2005
DECENNIAL RE-APPORTIONMENT AND THE CENSUSPOLIBLOGGER posted on an article by FRUITS AND VOTES. F&V suggested we expand the House of Representatives and make it more representative and responsive and districts more equal in population size by using "THE WYOMING RULE": Under the ‘Wyoming Rule,’ the standard Representative-to-population ratio would be that of the smallest entitled unit–i.e. currently Wyoming. (Poliblogger rans the numbers.) I AGREE: we need MORE Reps. But maybe not that many. Here're my thoughts:(1) The US CENSUS was specifically designed to allow for the ORDERLY EXPANSION of the House so that districts would be equal in size, and the number of districts would expand as the population expanded.I DARE A BRAVE CONGRESSMAN TO INTRODUCE THIS. It should get BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT, becasue open seats are VERY COMPETITIVE, and the GOP is VERY COMPETITIVE in the CITIES AND COUNTIES which have had the most growth.
(2) The problem is that since 1920, the number of districts has been frozen at 435. This was done by an ACT OF CONGRESS; it can be undone by an ACT OF CONGRESS, too. It doesn’t require a constitutional amendment.
(3) Since 1920, every decennial census has led MERELY TO RE-APPORTIONMENT: changes/shifts of Reps withing the 435. Some states get more Representatives other states get theirs reduced. Sometimes a state which has grown in population may have their number or Reps reduced because all states must have at least one Rep.
(4) The total number of Reps in the House could be and should be expanded - if not by the "Wyoming Plan" how about just increasing the number od reps in the House to a NICE ROUND NUMBER: 500 - by adding an additional 65 seats. (I think that 500 has a nice ring to it - especially for a nation of 50 states!) These could be/would be apportioned by population. Every ten years we dicide the population by 500 and distribute the seats accordingly.
(5) Average district size would be each smaller - and more representative, AS THE FOUNDERS ORIGINALLY PLANNED. More Reps would mean fewer committee assignments for each Rep and more constituent time. (Also, the advent and pervasiveness of hi-tech communications makes the management of a larger House less encumbering than in 1920, or since 1920. In fact, MANY national and state legislatures all over the world have many more mebers than we do and are larger than a mere 435. If they can mange it, then so can we.)
(6) As these 65 NEW SEATS would ALL BE OPEN SEATS, they’d be VERY competitive races at a time when most seats are NOT COMPETITIVE. That’s a good thing too. This would be A NEW BIRTH OF REPRESENTATION, which would NOT make government bigger, but make it MORE RESPONSIVE AND MORE REPRESENTATIVE.
ALSO: (7) This would change the ELECTORAL COLLEGE - making it even more reflective of the population.
- Posted by Reliapundit @ 5:22 PM ; Permalink; 22 Comments; Links to this post;
- DOING IT WOULD UNSETTLE INCUMBENCY AND CREATE A REBIRTH REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT.
- THERE IS NO DOWNSIDE.
- THE COUNTIES IN STATES WHICH HAVE HAD INCREASES IN POPULATION WOULD GET MORE SEATS.
[ER UM.... YES: THEY'RE MOSTLY RED STATES.... AND GEE: I WONDER WHY!? COULD IT BE THAT BLUE POLICIES OF HIGH TAXES AND LOW STANDARDS HAS CREATED HIGH CRIME/LOW PROFIT COUNTIES?! YES.]