A 10,000 Member House of Representatives?
by rich kolker, Fri Apr 01, 2005 at 07:05:05 AM EST
Okay, this one is a little over the top, but it isn't an April Fools joke. No question it would be hard (politically) to implement, but it's overdue for discussion, and I was asked if something like this followed from yesterday's diary. It does.
It's time to reorganize the Congress.
The House of Representatives has been stuck at 435 members for close to a century, resulting in members of the "People's House" who barely know the people, and whose campaigns cost so much, they spend all their time talking to contributors, not voters. This was not the intent of the founders, as can be seen by reading the Constitution.
The Senate's "all states are equal" status is a vestige of the Articles of Confederation. Years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that election districts should represent "one person - one vote". That is grossly violated in the Senate, and because our electoral system for President allocates Electoral votes according to representation in the House and Senate, less populated states are grossly overrepresented in the selection of the President.
Under the original Constitution, the Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand. If that held today, Congress would number over 9800. Needless to say, the "People's House" is more remote from the people than it was then, and so long as membership is frozen at 435, it continues to grow more remote. The only thing stopping us from having 1000, or even 10,000 Representatives is the size of the House chamber. In this era of electronic voting and networks that is not an issue, except for ceremonial occasions like the State of the Union, which could take place at a sufficiently large auditorium away from the Capitol if necessary.
The Senate's "two Senators for every state regardless of size" is in marked contrast to "one person-one vote". Instead, one person in a small state may have 50 times the representation of one person in California. Senators should be allocated to the states by population, with the smallest states having one, and the larger ones allocated Senators by population. The size of the Senate should be enlarged to accomplish this, although not beyond a certain point in order to maintain the smaller and more collegial atmosphere of the upper house.
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