A judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has agreed to convene a panel of three District Court judges to hear a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the current size of the House of Representatives.
Edith H. Jones took little time approving the request from five plaintiffs. If they are successful with the District Court panel, the case will move to the Supreme Court.
Scott Scharpen, founder and president of Apportionment.US, the non-profit organization coordinating the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs, has praised the move saying it shows "the court is taking this lawsuit with the seriousness that it deserves."
The plaintiffs allege that a provision in the United States Code which restricts the size of the House of Representatives to 435 members is unconstitutional and undermines the "one person, one vote" principle. They further state that as the U.S. population has tripled in the past century, the number of House members has stayed the same, rendering some states – including Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota and Utah – underrepresented.
The number of seats in the House of Representatives has remained at 435 since 1911, except for a temporary increase to 437 when Alaska and Hawaii joined the union in 1959.