It is granted that equality is an important doctrine in democratic behavior and that many forms of equality should exist in behavior. Why then deny it the exclusive place in this one area of society, apportionment; why not let it take over at least here? Let us review the reasons.
From a design standpoint, it is almost impossible to make apportionment systems equal. Districts can be modalized, not equalized.
The doctrine of equality is posed in the apportionment controversy in an especially doctrinaire, mechanical, magical, and virulent form.
Serious and continuous damage is being done to the first branch of government—the legislature—everywhere in attempting to exercise the doctrine of equality. In a vital sense, everyone whose claim to equality derives its fulfillment from a strong legislature, per se, stands to lose his equality.
The results or effects of making apportionment equal in some respects will be to make it more unequal in other respects. It will be more unequal with respect to thinly populated or isolated areas, probably to those who back the minority party in the legislature, to places whose people vote more rather than less, to poorer areas outside the cities and perhaps inside, and indirectly to other groups that may be benefited in one case and hurt in another.
The judiciary has spoiled the whole issue of equality by its unconstitutional interventions. Equality imposed by judicial Bona-partism is questionable ab initio; it is fragile; it leads in suspicious directions.
Federalism, a great instrument for general equality, is seriously harmed. The state legislatures and Congress are the primary bulwarks of American federalism. The governor, without them, would soon become simply a kind of continental prefect, owing his final powers to the national presidency. Concentration of power in the central organs of the nation and in the executive follows. Only those local groups who can hook into the national power in the central organs of the nation and in the executive follows. Only those local groups who can hook into the national power net are "equally" empowered.
The rule of law is injured by the methods employed by the courts and their political associates. The disrepute of courts, reinforced by a worsening of the attention the little man gets in court while the court meddles in great political issues, diminishes the equality of all men before the law.
The executive branch of government, already much extended, is further ramified into the control of the minor groupings and legislative assemblies of society. The party system becomes more centralized under presidential control.
An enormous expenditure of social energies has gone into a struggle that grew from the views of several members of the Supreme Court. These energies do not come from a vacuum; they come from a quantity already in short supply and badly needed for other problems of metropolitan reorganization, race relations, mental health, foreign affairs, reform of legislative processes, and reform of the bureaucracy and courts.
Other considerations besides equality weigh heavily in men’s thinking. Not only legitimate considerations of merit (elitist thought), conservatism, and relativism, but also considerations of expediency, efficiency, individual justice, minority protection, variety, etc.
In conclusion, any system set up by the courts or anybody else is going to violate some principles of equality. Equality has to mean, if anything, that more equality is given than taking away by the imposition of a system. The carrying forward of the "equi-populous districts" doctrine is otherwise bound to create more inequalities than it abolishes. We can only be sure that one bit of equality is frequently achieved, and that bit is numerical in nature: The ratio of seats to the apportionment base (voters or population) will be more nearly the same for all districts of a jurisdiction.
For a more meaningful idea of equality, we shall have to await the development of a formula of apportionment whose effects upon equality are calculated to correlate well with its goals in respect to equality—in other words, a better applied science of politics. Probably this system will be a more sophisticated combination of egalitarian and other beliefs concerning representation. It will not be a simplistic "one man, one vote" dogma. It will be a product of decision-making processes more rational than the courts have provided and can provide.