Rediscovering the Sovereignty of the People: The Case for Senate Districts

Terry Smith, Rediscovering the Sovereignty of the People: The Case for Senate Districts, 75 N.C. L. Rev. 1 (1996).

Abstract:  The creation and drawing of district voting lines in order to benefit racial minorities has spurred several recent Supreme Court decisions and generated mountains of commentary. This attention, however, has been directed at the drawing of district lines for the House of Representatives. In this unique and intriguing Article Professor Smith posits a different form of districting – United States Senate districting. Drawing from the history and text of the Seventeenth Amendment and the Elections Clause of Article I, Professor Smith argues that the creation of Senate districts is a permissible, though not required, activity. As Professor Smith points out, such a proposal would have benefits for both racial minorities and campaign finance reform. Anticipating objections to his proposal on Equal Protection grounds, Professor Smith concludes with a discussion of recent Supreme Court rulings and defends his proposal within this framework. For states such as California and New York, with divergent racial makeups and political ideologies rooted in geography, the implications of Professor Smith’s Article are widespread and significant.

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