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Webster Plus One: Solving the 'Impossible' Apportionment Debate

31 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2009 Last revised: 20 May 2009

Mark M. Bell

Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP

Date Written: March 4, 2009


Apportionment issues inevitably arise decennially. Consistent with historical trends, the debates concerning the upcoming 2010 apportionment have already begun to intensify. Deciding which apportionment method to use has generated intense debates among some of the most prominent figures in the Nation's history. Most scholars believe that there is constitutional tension between two fundamental apportionment constraints: apportioning proportionally and representatively. It has been universally accepted that it is "impossible to satisfy both criteria." In order to satisfy both criteria, an apportionment method must both, maintain quota, and avoid paradoxes. I postulate a new method, the "Webster Plus One" approach, that stands to settle the apportionment method debate by guaranteeing proportional and representative apportionment, while simultaneously maintaining quota and avoiding paradoxes. Because this method finally ensures a Constitutional apportionment, it should be implemented by Congress prior to the 2010 reapportionment.

Suggested Citation

Bell, Mark M., Webster Plus One: Solving the 'Impossible' Apportionment Debate (March 4, 2009). Ohio North University Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Mark M. Bell (Contact Author)

Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP ( email )

511 Union Street, Suite 2700
Nashville, TN 37219
United States

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