One Man One Vote by Tom Reynolds
Because of the huge political divide on almost everything between New York City and most of the state, SCOPE previously wrote about the possibility of New York counties seceding from NY and joining Pennsylvania. Other options are Divide NY and, of course, to do nothing. Another alternative that isn’t mentioned, but should be promoted, might be to overturn the Warren Court’s wrongful ruling that established the “one man one vote” principle.
The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) under Chief Justice Earl Warren was one of the most liberal SCOTUS that the USA has ever had and, hopefully, ever will. Many of the divisive issues we face today are directly related to rulings during Warren’s reign. Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II accused the Warren Court of repeatedly amending the Constitution through its opinions, rather than waiting for the lawful amendment process.
One of the Warren Court’s worst decisions was Reynolds v Sims, which ignored the Constitution in order to remove political power from conservative rural areas and give it to liberal cities; it’s known as “one man one vote”.
- In 1946, before Warren was appointed to SCOTUS, in Colegrove v. Green the court continued its long-standing position that legislative apportionment was a “political thicket” into which the judiciary should not intrude.
- In 1962, in Baker v. Carr, the Warren Court ignored SCOTUS’ own precedent and forced the Tennessee legislature to reapportion itself on the basis of population.
- In 1964, using its own precedent to validate its action, the Warren Court cited the Baker case as a precedent and held in Reynolds v Sims that both houses of a two-house legislature had to be apportioned according to population. This is known as “one man one vote”.
As a result of Reynolds v Sims, virtually every state legislature was reapportioned, ultimately causing rural areas’ political power to be given to urban areas.
Every issue must be viewed in context; statements can mean very different things when taken out of context. The US Constitution set up the rules and overall framework for how the federal government would operate, but it also had another purpose; to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Every part of the Constitution should be interpreted within the context of protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. “One man one vote” goes against that principle.
The Constitution contains many examples that contradict “one man one vote:
- The power to make laws is vested in our elected representatives in the House and Senate, not in a vote by the majority of the people (Article I Section 1). Each state has two Senators, no matter what the population (Article 1 Section 3 and Amendment XVII).
- One person, the President, has the executive power to run the government and enforce laws (Article II Section I).
- The President is elected by the Electoral College, where each state has the number of votes equal to its total number of Representatives and Senators (Article II Section I). Almost all states allocate their Electoral College votes on a winner take all basis, not a percentage of votes (state laws).
- In case no one gets a majority of the electoral votes, the decision is made by the House of Representatives where each state has only one vote for President, no matter what the population. (Amendment XII)
- Only the House of Representatives is based on population and it is not truly “one man one vote”. The smallest state gets at least one vote (Article I Section 2). Six states are below the average representation.
- Congress passed the law that sets the number of SCOTUS judges at nine and there is no requirement for equal representation throughout the USA.
Why is it important to gun owners that our Constitution is not in any way based on one man one vote? Currently, New York has a bicameral (two house) legislature where both houses are based on an equal percentage of the population. What if, instead of “one man one vote”, the NY State Senate was apportioned by each county having one Senator, no matter what the population was of the county? Rural counties would then have a voice that is currently denied them because of NY City’s overwhelming population. In NY State, the principle of “one man one vote” effectively means that people in rural counties have no vote. Rural counties are subject to the tyranny of the majority.
Stare decisis is a legal principle where courts rarely go against principles established in previous rulings. Unless of course you are a liberal court, then the only principle that matters is your current political position. Liberals respect stare decisis only when it works in their favor. The Warren Court frequently ignored Stare Decisis. Unfortunately, Stare Decisis also protects bad rulings as we have seen with “one man one vote”.
Federal judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate (Article 2 Section 2); they are not elected. (Another example that goes against “one man one vote”.) 2nd Amendment defenders face an extremely grave time after Democrats won both races in Georgia, giving them control of the Senate through the Vice-President’s tie breaking vote. The Senate could run rampant in approving far left judges who will make political rulings, such as the Warren Court made, instead of judgments based on the Constitution. Elections have consequences and we need to ensure that future Presidents and Senates only appoint conservative judges who believe in the rule of law.
Perhaps, someday, we will have judges who recognize that “one man one vote” was another constitutional aberration of the Warren Court and needs to be overturned. That would overcome the tyranny of the majority that is now the rule of law in NY State and give gun owners and Upstate NY a voice in their government that is currently denied to them.