Courts, Congress, and Public Policy, Part II: The Impact of the Reapportionment Revolution on Urban and Rural Interests
Jeffrey R. Lax
Columbia University - Department of Political Science
Mathew D. McCubbins
University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business, Gould School of Law and the Department of Political Science
Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 199-218, 2006
Before the "reapportionment revolution," decades of precedent held that the legislative district boundaries were not justiciable, no matter how little the districts reflected population distributions. In Baker v. Carr, a majority of justices declared for the first time that courts could indeed address these disparities. This Article evaluates the impact of these decisions on legislative politics and policymaking. We examine three indicators of change. In the first, we test the impact of two key reapportionment cases, Reynolds v. Sims and Wesberry v. Sanders, on policies favoring rural and urban interests (using event study methodology). Our analysis shows that these decisions shifted the benefits of public policy toward urban interests and away from rural interests. The second effect of reapportionment that we study is the relationship of Southern Democrats to the rest of the Democratic Party in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate. In our third test, we examine the political changes wrought by a similar set of cases affecting the California legislature.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 11
Keywords: courts, congress, public policy, law, impact, reapportionment, electionsAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 15, 2007
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