Representation and Election: The Reapportionment Cases in Retrospect

In general, both in the two-year interval between Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims and in the period following the reapportionment decisions of June 1964, discussion of the issue among scholars and publicists has tended to center upon four problems of varying scope and precision: (1) the jurisdiction of the federal courts to pass upon aspects of state legislative apportionment; (2) the justiciability of the same matter; (3) the substantive merits of the several cases; and, (4) the implications of the decisions for democratic theory and practice. No attempt is made here to reopen the argument about federal jurisdiction; that question is no longer at issue. The matter of justiciability, now seemingly quite settled, is broached only indirectly in relating the doctrine of “political questions” to the theory and process of political representation. Thus, it is to the third and fourth of these general questions-to the merits of the reapportionment cases and their likely influence on representation in the American political system-that the following remarks are primarily addressed.