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October 31, 2005



Ken raises an interesting point. It explains why the statewide electorate produces generally conservative results (e.g. Prop. 187, 209, 22, and Three Strikes), while electing a generally liberal, Democratic legislature.

However, I'm not sure that ignoring undocumented aliens is appropriate (or possible) for redistricting purposes, since the 14th Amendment provides "all persons" (legal or not) equal protection of the laws. Moreover, I'm not sure that Census takers would be all that successful going door to door demanding to inspect each person's legal papers showing their legal right to live and work in the United States.

However, I do think the discrepancy (between a conservative statewide electorate and a liberal legislature) suggests that conservatives should generally look to accomplish significant conservative reform through the tools of direct democracy, and not through the Legislature.

Come to think of it, this is pretty much what is happening today.


It's a stretch of a connection, though, between illegal immigration and redistricting, and the dual conclusion (banning the count of illegal immigrants and supporting Prop 77) has only a thin thread connecting them.

Does illegal immigration allow politicians to play with population blocks better, knowing that some blocks (census tracts) have greater weight than others (because of voter registration rates)? Yes. But notethat the politicians were able to play these redistricting games in the 80's without the high amounts of urban migrant labor we see today. Redistricting (which I agree with) should be argued on the basis of fundamental fairness to the communities a politician represents, that Rancho Cucamonga has virtually nothing in common with La Canada Flintridge (David Dreier's district), and that politicians shouldn't be able to pick and choose their constituents (i.e. Michael Berman in the SFV).

Mr. Masugi makes an odd argument that might actually turn off more voters than it attracts, especially the statement that slaves shouldn't have counted at all. Illegal immigrants may be disliked, but virtually no one would consider them sub-human like we considered slaves. And the mechanics of enforcing such a measure would violate the US Constitution on several levels.

Let me try to understand this one -
Bring back the 3/5ths Compromise, but discount the humanity of the undocumented person by 100% this time instead of just 40%?
I've seen some crazy things in the Register, but this one is out there. WAY OUT THERE.

ken masugi

My provocative editorial relies on the equality principle: Human beings with equal natural rights formed a government of limited powers. Illegal aliens, while equally human as persons, are by definition not a legitimate part of the consenting citizenry. Counting them is as big a distortion of our constitutional principles as counting slaves for the purpose of southern representation.

Not counting the slaves at all would have _diminished_ the pro-slavery power; it would not have dehumanized the slaves at all but rather have promoted their liberation. In the same way, we would be better equipped to deal with illegal immigration if they were not counted for the purposes of representation.

The constitutional objection involves the 15th amendment as well as the 14th. The power of citizens who vote is "diluted," to use contemporary court opinion language, when illegals are counted. Citizens in districts that have fewer illegals have diluted votes, compared to voters in districts that have many illegals. A case could be made on these grounds. It has nothing to do with dehumanizing anyone; it has to do with protecting basic rights, such as the right to vote.

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