Progressing the Constitution: One Man, One Vote (Part I of V)

Our nation is accustomed to usurpations from scotus. What is worse, long after the detrimental effects of its usurpations become clear, it is practically impossible to reverse the rot or even fire the judges. Among its worst decisions is one from fifty years ago that today’s social justice warriors just love. Alabama plaintiffs in Reynolds v. Sims (1964) sought 14th Amendment relief from state legislative districts with unequal populations.

Scotus: “We hold that, as a basic constitutional standard, the Equal Protection Clause requires that the seats in both houses of a bicameral state legislature must be apportioned on a population basis. Considerations of history, economic or other group interests, or area alone do not justify deviations from the equal-population principle.” Who knew the 14th Amendment of 1868 commanded state senatorial districts of equal population?

With these words, the philosopher-kings of the Warren court tossed aside three hundred years of good governing practice. Until Reynolds, states often apportioned senatorial districts by counties. After Reynolds, One-Man-One-Vote became the bumper sticker standard for all state legislative houses. This little known decision is at least partly, if not largely, responsible for the growing fiscal emergencies in many states. Reynolds v. Sims is the judicially imposed, unconstitutional state level equivalent of the 17th Amendment, which democratized the US Senate. Senator Dirksen of Illinois summed up the effect of Reynolds when he warned that Chicago would come to dominate Springfield. He was right, and with help from Reynolds, Illinois is near bankruptcy and losing population as people flee high taxes, higher unemployment, and societal destruction.

Representation by county districts goes back to colonial times. In Virginia, after 1670, freeholders in possession of at least one hundred unsettled acres, twenty-five homesteaded acres, or a building lot in Norfolk or Williamsburg, traveled to county or town courthouses on election day to publicly cast their vote for their candidate to the House of Burgesses.

Special delegates to the Virginia Ratification Convention of 1788 were likewise elected by county districts and one each from Norfolk and Williamsburg.

Under the new US Constitution, states not only kept their colonial tradition in senatorial districts by county, their system resembled some key features of the US Senate. State senates had fewer members with longer terms of office than state Assemblymen. Of first importance is that a county-based senate tended to reduce the concentration of power in factious cities and diffuse it across the states. Cities and towns might get more senators, but not as many as they would by strict observance of one-man-one-vote.

For example, in my home state of Florida, its 1838 Constitution provided for sixteen senatorial districts, with fifteen of them represented by one senator. Twelve districts consisted of a single county. With an eye toward the distribution of population across the new state, two districts were composed of two counties; one district was composed of three counties, and the district surrounding the state capital of Tallahassee was assigned two senators.

Florida’s 1885 post-14th Amendment Constitution continued in the county-as-senatorial-district method.

Florida’s 1968 Constitution was amended to reflect Reynolds: “The legislature at its regular session in the second year following each decennial census, by joint resolution, shall apportion the state in accordance with the constitution of the state and of the United States into not less than thirty nor more than forty consecutively numbered senatorial districts of either contiguous, overlapping or identical territory . . . “

Should the legislature balk, the FL state supreme court is to apportion representatives and senators! This isn’t republican government. This is an effect of Reynolds.

In part II, we’ll look more closely at Reynolds and its assault on the Constitution and free government. We are the many; our oppressors are the few. Be proactive. Be a Re-Founder. Join Convention of States. Sign the COS Petition.


11 thoughts on “Progressing the Constitution: One Man, One Vote (Part I of V)

  1. Robyn Campbell

    The first North Carolina Constitution was created in 1776 after the American Declaration of Independence. Since the first state constitution, there have been two major revisions and many amendments. In 1776 NC had eight Senate districts.
    Voters of each county elected one senator and two members of the House of Commons regardless of area or population. Six constitutionally designated towns were permitted to elect an additional member of the House. The system gave preference to landowners and afforded little political voice to most of the population. As a result of these shortcomings, over time the constitution came under attack.

    I loved reading your article. Thank you for your love of COS. I’m a volunteer. Sign the petition at Volunteer at

  2. Don Sutton

    Another great article Rodney! Thanks for all you do. The supremes and Federal Judges need to be term limited. The states need to be able to reverse egregious decisions by the Supreme Court that effect 300 plus million Americans. We are working on this and other issues at

  3. MJ Alexander

    You’ve nailed it, Rodney… in a nutshell, the problem really IS with our Constitution… but not the one that was written by the Founders. The problem is the Constitution that is being amended every day by the Supreme Court.

    Liberal lawyers and activist judges dissect our Constitution and exploit it every day, finding loopholes in its beautiful but often vague and ambiguous language, creating more power, broadening the jurisdiction, and laying claim to powers for the Federal government that the Founders never envisioned nor intended.

    Those loopholes can be closed – by amendment. The language can be clarified – by amendment. And the original intent of the Framers of that great document can be restored.

    Article V… it’s time.

  4. Robert Weitman

    Like the proverbial frog in the pot acclimating to the water on the glowing stovetop, Americans are becoming desensitized to changes happening to our government, institutions, rule of law and our civil society. Gradually happening over many years, Liberty is being whittled away and replaced with more government. Remember the quote …”We’re all in this together…by ourselves”. Our friends who enjoy the warming pot say…”come on in–the water’s fine!” enjoying the wetness, the tropical water, the ever increasing perceived beneficial effects. Who wants to throw cold water on that? Constitutional conservatives seeing the danger, sober, are the party-poopers. There is still dwindling time and opportunity to save the Republic and ourselves. If we can just get our fellow swimmers out of the pool!

  5. Gary Rosenbaum

    Thanks Rodney…Great article!! Its time for an Article V Convention… Judicial overreach has to end. The States made this monster and it’s time to reel them in!! It may be a long shot, but it also is our only shot to peaceably & constitutionally restore our Constitution. The COS Project application has already been passed by 8 states and 20 or more state houses. This application is limited to 3 areas:

    (a) Impose fiscal restraints on the Federal Government. (Including
    campaign finances)
    (b) Limit the power and jurisdiction of the Federal Government.
    (c) Limit the terms of office for federal officials and members of Congress.

    Please encourage your local state rep to become
    more involved in States’ rights. Visit here to learn more, sign the petition, and sign up to volunteer:

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