When the Supreme Court issued an opinion last week on “one person one vote,” the political press did what it does best and reduced it to political pronouncements. The conservatives lost, urban liberals won, and the 24/7 news cycle moved on.
This was accurate as far as it went, but also incomplete, and possibly temporary. The case in question arose when some Texans claimed that “one person one vote” had to define a “person” as an eligible voter, so basing congressional districts on total population was unconstitutional. This would have hurt voters in urban districts (which for a number of reasons have more ineligible voters) and boosted rural ones who trend more conservative.
True enough, the justices rejected that claim. But all they said was that congressional districts could be based on total population. They said nothing about whether they had to –or whether, instead, states could be allowed to draw their districts based on the number of eligible voters instead. Texas is already considering it. If it acts on it, the opposite challenge (i.e. a claim that states must use total population and that limiting the count to eligible voters is unconstitutional) will undoubtedly be made, and the Supreme Court will wade into election law once more.