Mathematician answers Supreme Court plea | Science News

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Math Trek

Mathematician answers Supreme Court plea

New, fair method for dividing states into congressional districts could reduce political squabbles.

2:47pm, February 24, 2009

In 2003, Republicans in the Texas state legislature proposed a bill that would redistrict the state to increase the likelihood of Republican victories. The Democratic representatives, lacking the votes to defeat the measure, fled the state to deny a quorum. After two standoffs (one lasting 45 days), a Democrat broke down and returned to work, and Republicans pushed the measure through. In the next election, Texas Republicans gained six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, for a total of 21 seats out of 32.

Democrats sued. The Republicans argued that the new districting was only redressing past wrongs, as Republicans had held fewer than half of the Texas congressional seats, even though they had 57 percent of the vote. In 2006, the case reached the Supre

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