Ken Masugi is the Director of the Claremont Institute's Center
for Local Government.
Its purpose is to apply the principles of the American Founding
to the theory and practice of local government, the cradle
of American self-government. Dr. Masugi has extensive experience
in government and academia. Following his initial appointment
at the Claremont Institute (1982-86), he was a special assistant
to then-Chairman Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission. After his years in Washington, he
held visiting university appointments including Olin Distinguished
Visiting Professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Dr. Masugi
is co-author with Brian Janiskee of both The
California Republic: Institutions, Statesmanship, and Policies (Rowman & Littlefield,
2004) and Democracy
in California: Politics and Government in the Golden State (Rowman & Littlefield,
2002). He is co-editor of six books on political thought,
Supreme Court and American Constitutionalism with
Branford P. Wilson, (Ashbrook Series, 1997); The
Ambiguous Legacy of the Enlightenment with William Rusher,
(University Press, 1995); The
American Founding with J. Jackson Barlow
and Leonard W. Levy, (Greenwood Press, 1988). He is the editor
Tocqueville's Democracy in America, (Rowman & Littlefield,
to Masugi index]
77's Immigration Angle
Illegal immigrants distort the value of voters in districts where they live..
Illegal immigration is on the ballot in the Nov. 8 special election.
Because redistricting reform is the purpose of Proposition 77,
and illegal immigration is most assuredly a major cause of the
current corrupt formation of political districts.
The illegal-immigrant population decisively affects the way
districts are drawn. Political districts, the Supreme Court told
us over 40 years ago, must be drawn strictly according to population,
which includes all persons, not just voters, and not just citizens.
The result is that in districts whose populations are swelled
by illegal immigrants, comparatively fewer voters become responsible
for electing their representatives, whether in Sacramento or
Congress. An inner-city area that includes illegal immigrants
can be compact, easily drivable, and, of course, ethnically homogenous.
Population density enables the creation of safe districts for
Democrats. Inhabitants don't need to vote to be useful to the
Moreover, this trend
may increase. Because census numbers result from a head count
conducted by a census taker, and many illegal
immigrants presumably try to avoid contact with anyone from the
government, therefore illegal immigrants are undoubtedly undercounted.
It follows that many liberal interest groups favor a different
method for counting the population – one of various statistical
sampling techniques that would not require an actual headcount.
These methodologies may, of course, result in overcounting illegal
Why haven't the dogs barked on this aspect of redistricting
reform? In fact, both parties benefit in various ways. Population
numbers in schools and local government districts buy government
dollars, after all. But systematic voter fraud is the subject
for a different day, as is the vile Republican assistance in
the creation of majority-minority districts. (The ensuing segregation
and the diminished need to campaign for Latino votes have done
more to hurt Republican attempts to secure Latino votes than
support of Prop. 187 more than a decade ago.)
While the Constitution initially appears to be an obstacle to
reform of illegal-immigrant inflation in political districts,
in fact it facilitates reform and even mandates it.
The Constitution requires
that all persons be counted, and illegal immigrants are persons.
The notorious illustration of this point
was the great American dilemma in which "other persons" – i.e.,
slaves – were counted as three-fifths of persons, thus
increasing the power of the slave states in the House of Representatives.
(Counting them as equals of whites would, of course, have inflated
the pro-slavery representation even more.) Slavery, the great
injustice of American history, foreshadows the injustice of illegal
immigration in the formation of political districts.
Once again, in the 21st century, Americans have preferred the
wealth brought about by cheap labor, and cheaply acquired ethnic-bloc
voters, to adherence to self-government. It required the Civil
War for America to address its original sin in choosing wealth
and tyranny over the principle of government by consent.
But we Californians today need neither a Civil War nor constitutional
amendments to deal with the current injustice. Prop. 77 takes
control of redistricting away from the Legislature and gives
it to a panel of retired judges, who could boldly form districts
to take account of the illegal-immigrant population so that the
principle of equality would triumph over political opportunism.
Moreover, Congress could pass legislation enforcing the 14th
and 15th Amendments, to assure that equality of representation
is not violated and that votes are not being diluted by unequal
redistricting inflated by illegal immigration.
Illegal immigration is imposing a new three-fifths-clause blotch
upon our nation. Illegal immigrants need to count, as slaves
should have, as zero persons for purposes of drawing political
districts. Let the politicians who defend the current arrangements
justify counting illegal immigrants.
Illegal immigration undeniably contributes to the current, corrupt
redistricting scheme. Outraged citizens can protest this injustice
through a vote for Prop. 77. tOR
Masugi is director of the Claremont Institute's Center
for Local Government, and is a contributing editor of the Claremont
Review of Books. He is the co-author of Democracy
in California: Politics and Government in the Golden State.