- The Washington Times - Friday, August 23, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Disaffected rural counties in Colorado are considering formation of a new state (“Rural Coloradans to vote on breaking away as 51st state, angered by liberal policies on guns, energy,” Web, Aug. 19). Rural counties in Maryland and perhaps other states are considering a similar action.

The Great Compromise of 1787, incorporated into the U.S. Constitution, was specifically designed to avoid such a circumstance at the federal level. Without its provision for a dual system of representation, the Constitution might never have been ratified. Rural states feared that if Congress had representation based upon population size, smaller states would forever be at the mercy of more populous states. The solution was for the each state to be assigned a number of seats in the House of Representatives in proportion to its population, and for all states to have the same number of seats in the Senate.

Most states adopted this model for their state legislatures, and this was the case right up until 1964, when the Supreme Court issued its infamous and highly destructive “One man, one vote” opinion in the case of Reynolds v. Sims. In it, the court ruled that a state’s apportionment plan for seats in both houses of a bicameral state legislature must allocate seats on a population basis so that the voting power of all voters be equal.

The illogic of this decision remains astounding. That which was constitutional at the federal level suddenly became unconstitutional at the state level. The resulting mischief of urban majority rule to the exclusion of rural interests compels some areas to seek (in the words of the Declaration of Independence) “new Guards for their future security” through secession, the very situation the Great Compromise sought to avoid.

ROGER JOHNSON

Kensington

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