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Reapportioning congressional districts (Passage of Engrossed Senate Bill No. 1008) ________ REMARKS OF HONORABLE JOHN R.

UNGER II ________ Friday, August 5, 2011 SENATOR UNGER: Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, this is Its moving

the congressional bill; we all know whats in it.

Mason County into the Third and, basically, thats it. I want to say that its not traditional for a chair to speak against his committees bill but I stand as a Senator from the Sixteenth and not as Chair of the Redistricting committee and Ill tell you why. In 1963, the Supreme Court under Gray v. Sanders, Justice Douglas declared the concept of political equality from the

Declaration of Independence to Lincolns Gettysburg address to the Fifteenth, Seventeenth and Nineteenth Amendments can mean only one thing: One person, one vote. This requires, from that point on,

strict equality as I have described earlier and the standards under Article I, Section 2 of the U. S. Constitution. The Senator from Putnam and I always like to see what each others reading so we can have conversations. 1 But one of the good

books I would recommend--and he has it on his iPad now under the Kindle--is the Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution,

1787 to 1788 by Pauline Maier who is a distinguished professor of American history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In this book, she focuses not on the constitutional They

convention, but on the debate that went on among the people. had to have nine states to ratify the constitution.

It wasnt

necessarily the Legislature who voted on the U. S. Constitution. It had to be a majority of the people in each of those states before we would ever have the constitution ratified. In this book, all through it, the selling point that most appealed to the people, particularly coming from the monarch, was that their vote is going to count and that their representative would represent the same number of people in the U. S. Congress as other representatives would. That was important to them in order

for these people to come forward and come together to vote for a U. S. Constitution. Congressional redistricting is a very sacred, sacred thing that we have here as a legislative branch, as a state legislature, to do every ten years in order to uphold the very principle of representation. You hear the cry: Taxation without representation led the revolution in order for us to uphold it. 1991 was the first time in history that these districts seemed 2

to get out of whack.

On your desk, ladies and gentlemen, you can

find a memo from Kenneth Martis whos a professor of geography at West Virginia University and is nationally renowned because he is the political geographer for congressional districts in the

country. We couldnt get him here because hes in such high demand talking to other states. But in there you can look at the second

page and see where West Virginia had three congressional districts at one time and what they looked like on the second page. You go through all of the West Virginia Blue Books from that day forward and this was back in 1863 to 1883 where you had the Eastern Panhandle basically a district, the Northern Panhandle a district and then the southern district. You go through each and

every one and never in the history had the Eastern Panhandle ever stretched down into the south until 1991. What happened that year? In 1990, our census came in and we had to go from four congresspersons to three. In Congress we had Representative Nick

Joe Rahall, Representative Alan Mollohan, Representative Bob Wise and Representative Harley Staggers. Out of that, the decision was

made within the State Senate, right here, with the Senate President at the time, President Burdette--whos close to Congressman

Mollohan--decided that the odd man out was going to be Congressman Staggers. Thats what they decided in this body. That was the

person--the odd man out.

So, in order to do it, they had to split Congressman Rahall took the southern 3

up his district three ways.

portion, Congressman Alan Mollohan took the western portion and the northern. Congressman Wise, from Charleston, took the heart right

up that little string that goes right in there and goes right through the Eastern Panhandle. Well, there was a court case, Stone v. Hechler, that came up in 1991 challenging this configuration. The challenge lost because at the time, in 1991, the court ruled that what this Legislature did in regard to population was adequate in 1991. Compactness is a state constitutional issue but what they did on population was OK. But heres what it was, Mr. President. Back

in 1991 the deviation was .09 percent. one on the losing side.

Professor Bastress was the

He had argued that the Legislature could

have done better because there was a plan presented to them of .025 percent, but the 91 case had .09 percent that equaled . . . a variance deviation of 556 people. 1991 among those three districts. Mr. President, today, today the deviation is .79 percent with 4,871 people difference. Several plans have been presented to this body and have been rejected for one reason or another. People hang their hat on the Stone v. Hechler case, but, Mr. President, I submit to you that even when I asked Professor Bastress the difference in how we would be able to justify deviating from zero to one person there has to be a compelling argument. And I dont Thats all the deviation was in

know if theres anyone in this body that has heard an argument to 4

deviate from one person, one vote other than were going to disrupt some people. disrupt them. the courts Were flipping Mason County--thats going to Its not what argument into

Its not what the constitution says. have ruled on. They take that

consideration but first and foremost is the one person, one vote. So, Mr. President, Im rising as a member of this body and Im not going to say reject it. vote is going to be no. respect their view. Im just telling the members why my

Others may differ in their view and I

But how I see it is I cant, as a member of

this body under the oath that I took to be here, support a plan that in all evidence is unconstitutional. Numerically it is not

equal and does not uphold the one person, one vote as the U. S. Constitution requires--taking all of the politics aside, it doesnt do it. And so with that, Mr. President, that is why I am not going to vote for it even though I chair the Redistricting committee. ________