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Proportional Representation
"To Mill, a system that allowed a portion of the population that constituted a majority in each district to control the election of all representatives and to defeat the minority's choice of candidates was unjust."
Thomas on John Stuart Mill

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Jackie Holder

v.

E. K. Hall, Sr
Proportional Representation

Justice Thomas Concurrence
June 30, 1994
Seal Of The Supreme Court
Excerpt:

We are asked in this case to determine whether the size of a local governing body is subject to challenge under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act as a "dilutive" practice. While I agree with Justices Kennedy and O'Connor that the size of a governing body cannot be attacked under Section 2, I do not share their reasons for reaching that conclusion.

... In fact, it should be clear that the assumptions that have guided the Court reflect only one possible understanding of effective exercise of the franchise, an understanding based on the view that voters are "represented" only when they choose a delegate who will mirror their views in the legislative halls. See generally H. Pitkin, THE CONCEPT OF REPRESENTATION (1967) (7). But it is certainly possible to construct a theory of effective political participation that would accord greater importance to voters' ability to influence, rather than control, elections.

Footnote 7: Indeed, the assumptions underpinning the Court's conclusions largely parallel principles that John Stuart Mill advanced in proposing a system of proportional representation as an electoral reform in Great Britain. See J. S. Mill, CONSIDERATIONS ON REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT (1861). In Mill's view, a just system of representative government required an electoral system that ensured "a minority of the electors would always have a minority of the representatives." To Mill, a system that allowed a portion of the population that constituted a majority in each district to control the election of all representatives and to defeat the minority's choice of candidates was unjust because it operated to produce a "complete disfranchisement of minorities."


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