1. The US Constitution specifies that Representative seats should be apportioned among the states based on the results of the decennial Census, but says no thing about how states should draw district boundaries for their Representatives. How do you think states should draw these boundaries?
2. Political competition, like market competition, is supposed to yield efficiency. In hotly-contested districts, politicians competing to win the support of various constituent groups have to be highly responsive to those groups. In safe districts, well-entrenched legislators, like monopolists, can afford to be lazy. Do you think legislators in more gerrymandered districts are in fact less “efficient” than other legislators in capturing federal appropriations for their home districts?
3. US courts have generally been reluctant to intervene in these processes unless they involve overt civil rights issues, and in some cases have actually encouraged creative mappings that promote representation of racial minorities. To what do you attribute this reluctance?
4. Gerrymandering depends on a heterogeneous geographic distribution of political interests, and only occurs in elections by district rather than at-large. If the region is split into compact east and west sections of equal proportions, each party wins one seat. But if regional majority Party B controls the redistricting process, and splits the region into less compact north and south sections of equal proportions, it can win both seats and Party A is effectively unrepresented. Does this make you sad?
5. Do you believe the answer to gerrymandering is more political or more judicial? Please support your answer.
6. In considering the best method in redistricting procedures, Almost any criterion may be used either as a constraint or as an optimizer, but some function better as constraints and some function better as optimizers. Which do you feel is more effective?
7. Population equality can function as a constraint by the device of requiring that all districts fall within a stated deviation. It could be used as an optimizer by requiring that, of plans meeting all constraints, the one with the smallest deviation from the ratio of representation be chosen. Since the courts have already ruled that population variances be held below various minima, it does not seem wise to employ population equality as a criterion where, under certain conditions, its optimum value may be outside court – established limits. Do you agree with us, then, that it should be employed as a constraint? Why or why not?