Email, Nicholas O. Stephanopoulos, assistant professor, University of Chicago Law School, Nov. 19, 2013

1:05 pm

It's clear that the party preferred by a minority of voters won a majority of seats in 2012. Whether this is because of redistricting depends entirely on what your benchmark is. If your benchmark is proportional representation for each party, then it's clear that redistricting (together with single-member districts) is to blame. If your benchmark is the districts that were in place before the latest round of redistricting, then redistricting may only have won the Republicans 11 seats. (I suspect this is where the Brennan Center got its number.) But the districts in place before 2012 themselves were drawn by legislatures, and most observers thought the pre-2012 districts already favored Republicans in several states. And if your benchmark is districts drawn fairly by commissions or courts, or districts drawn by Democrats rather than Republicans, it's entirely unclear how many extra seats the Republicans won by having control of the process in so many states in 2012. What seems indisputable to me is that districts could have been drawn in 2012 that would have given the Democrats a majority of seats in the House, and therefore redistricting is to blame for the Republicans nevertheless holding on to a majority.

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Nicholas O. Stephanopoulos

Assistant Professor of Law

University of Chicago Law School

http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/stephanopoulos

 

On Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 12:52 PM, Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) <wgselby@statesman.com> wrote:

Here is where I am struggling a bit. The Brennan Center says 11 seats went Republican due to redistricting in 2011. That’s not 33. Illuminate?

 

g.