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U.S. Supreme Court Summarily Approves of Excluding Temporary Residents When Calculating Population of Districts

On January 21, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily affirmed Kostick v Nago, 13-456. This means that the decision of the 3-judge court in this case is considered the law of the land. The issue was whether Hawaii could exclude temporary residents (mainly military and students who came to Hawaii to study from other states) when it calculates the population of U.S. House and legislative districts. The lower court opinion, issued on July 11, 2013, said such a practice does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

3 Responses

  1. Demo Rep

    Anti-Democracy minority rule gerrymanders in ALL States.

    1/2 (or less) votes x 1/2 gerrymander districts =

    1/4 (or less) control.

    Much, much, much worse in gerrymander primaries.

    Too many MORON judges, lawyers and polisci profs to count.
    —-
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  2. Jim Riley

    Hawaii does not exclude temporary residents when drawing its congressional districts. Since the basis of congressional apportionment is the US Census which includes “usual residents”, it is possible that Hawaii might lose a challenge if they attempted to exclude temporary residents when drawing district boundaries.

    Another aspect of the Hawaii case was the restricting of legislative districts to one of the four island groups. This resulted in deviation greater than the 10% that conventional wisdom says is permitted. In the past, Hawaii has used so-called canoe districts which connect pieces of territory separated by 100s of miles of ocean, out of fear of violating equal protection, while ignoring the state constitution.

    Measuring “permanent residents” is difficult, because the census does not collect that information, particularly on a census block basis. So Hawaii was faced with the task not only of determining how many “temporary residents” there were, but where they lived.

    Initially, the redistricting commission excluded only out-of-state military living in military barracks, roughly 13,000 military personnel. The Hawaii Supreme Court overturned that map on the basis that included non-permanent residents.

    The redistricting commission then excluded about 108,000 persons, including 43,000 military personnel, 53,000 military dependents, and 13,000 students (including both mainland students and foreign students). Military pay records include up to 3 residences: the current physical residence, the residence for state income tax purposes, and the hometown residence at the time someone entered the service. Hawaii reasoned that someone who was paying taxes to another state had no intent to reside in Hawaii, and their current duty station was not voluntary.

    Dependents were assumed to be residing in Hawaii. Students at public universities paying out-of-state tuition were considered to be “temporary residents”, as were students with out-of-state addresses attending 3 private universities.

    Consideration was given to excluding aliens, but there was insufficient data.

    108,000 represents about 8% of the total population of 1.360 million, but it is highly concentrated on Oahu, particularly on the western part of the island around Pearl Harbor.

    If the United States were to issue IDs, and require that they could be used to vote in federal elections, with no further action, then when people moved they could simply update their ID, and the federal government would transfer that data to election officials. This would also permit districts to be based on citizen voting age population.

  3. jim jam

    Yeah lets do this for illegal aliens. They can be considered temporary residents since they are here illegally and should be deported.

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