« Life without the Infield Fly Rule | Main | CUNY Law graduation: Everyone screws up a free speech problem (Updated) »

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Should the House of Representatives Be Bigger?

Harvard’s Danielle Allen has proposed adding members to the House of Representatives, which has not been expanded since 1929. My new column at The Hill explains why that is a bad idea.

Here is the gist:

Would growing the House make it more efficient? Probably not


In a series of columns for The Washington Post, Allen contends that “growing the House of Representatives is the key to unlocking our present paralysis.” 

Unfortunately, she is wrong. Adding members to the House will only increase partisanship and feed extremism, as the behavior of state legislatures has amply demonstrated. 

Allen argues that continuously enlarging the House will “get our politics working again,” but she fails to reckon with the virtual certainty of partisan gerrymandering.

The same pattern can be seen in state after state. Legislative districts far smaller than those in the U.S. House of Representatives have enabled radical gerrymandering, in some cases, ensconcing supermajorities far out of proportion to the actual electorates.  

Allen’s proposal would increase the House by 150 members, providing several more representatives to all but the smallest states (which would still have one apiece). The U.S. Supreme Court, in Rucho v. Common Cause, gave the go-ahead to extreme partisan gerrymandering. Can there be any doubt that the majorities in most state legislatures would design the new congressional districts to further entrench their own parties?  

Congressional gridlock has become a dangerous problem, but adding legislators is not going to fix it.

You can read the entire essay at The Hill.

Comments are open and will be monitored.

Posted by Steve Lubet on May 31, 2023 at 07:26 AM | Permalink


The comments to this entry are closed.