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Baker V. Carr (1962)
• Tennessee constitution required reapportionment in legislature, hadn't happened
○ !60yrs since last reapportionment
○ !Some districts were under represented, some were massively over
• Supreme Court had recently tried a similar case, Colegrove V. Green
○ !Justice Frankfurter wrote the opinion, issue of reapportionment was a political
○ !Does not involve Guaranty Cause like Luther V. Borden
○ !Involved 14th amendment and equal protection cause
• This case reverses Colegrove V. Green
○ !Frankfurter wrote the dissenting piece, gets so furious he suffers a stroke
○ !Stroke was so severe that he had to resign from the court
• Hugo Black was the opposite of Frankfurter, was a plaintiff lawyer and largely
○ The most effective opponent of Frankfurter
• Gives us a broader deﬁnition of the Political Questions doctrine
• Does the political questions doctrine apply to an equal protection claim involving "
reapportionment of state legislatures?
• Political questions involve the relationship with coordinate branches, not states.
Do other branches have the constitutional authority? Is there a lack of judicially manageable
standards? Is there a need for a non-judicial policy decision? Would the Court have to show
disrespect to a coordinate branch? Or, would the Court be unable to make an objective
decision? Would there be embarrassment from numerous decisions from different decision
• In the end, reapportionment was not seen as infringing these questions.
• The case wasn't stepping on any toes in the federal system
○ Involved state government"
• There was a judicial standard that could be followed
○ One person one vote
• Note: Texas also had gross misapportionment at this time, with one district being
"at large", a couple of districts having 600,000+, and some had ~220,000. Not completely "
• Political Questions Doctrine is a self-imposed limitation "