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JEQuidam
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Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:45 pm
First Name: Jeff
Stance: Pro-Enlargement
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A dialogue with ChatGPT regarding one person, one vote, and more…

Post by JEQuidam »

Several dialogues have transpired with ChatGPT relative to representational enlargement. Below is an unedited excerpt of one such exchange. It begins by focusing on how the House of Representatives is in violation of the Constitution’s one-person-one-vote equality principle as a consequence of there being only 435 Representatives. Like much of the Thirty-Thousand.org web pamphlet, these arguments are largely, if not entirely, mathematical in nature (rather than qualitative). Presumably that facilitates ChatGPT’s ready grasp of this issue.

Question: Referring again to this webpage, https://thirty-thousand.org/one-person-one-vote/ , your previous response to that page focused on the fact that the congressional district populations were so huge (approximately 753,000) that, as you said, “it would be difficult for a single representative to adequately represent the interests and concerns of such a large number of people”. That is true, but the main point of that webpage is to explain that the population sizes of congressional districts across the country are grossly unequal. Based on the 2020 population census, the average congressional district size ranges from approximately 542,000 in Montana up to approximately 990,000 in Delaware. And the average district sizes of the other 48 states range in between those low and high values. Do you agree that the populations sizes of congressional districts vary widely across the country?

ChatGPT: Yes, it is correct that the population sizes of congressional districts vary widely across the country. The Constitution requires that congressional districts be based on population, but it does not specify a particular population size for each district. As a result, the actual population size of congressional districts can vary significantly, depending on a variety of factors, including population density, geography, and historical settlement patterns.

The webpage you referenced provides data showing the significant disparities in population size among congressional districts across the United States. These disparities can have significant implications for representation, as smaller districts may provide greater opportunities for constituents to communicate their concerns to their representatives, while larger districts may present challenges for representatives in adequately representing the diverse interests and concerns of their constituents.


Question: The Constitution only specifies a maximum number of Representatives at one for every 30,000 inhabitants, but it does not explicitly specify a minimum number of Representatives, but it does implicitly specify a minimum size, as explained on this webpage: https://thirty-thousand.org/blog/the-founders-rule/

ChatGPT: Yes, that is correct. While the Constitution does not explicitly specify a minimum number of Representatives, the mathematical arguments presented on the webpage you referenced suggest that a certain minimum House size is implied by the constitutional requirement that Representatives be apportioned among the several states according to their respective populations.

The argument goes that in order to maintain the principle of one person, one vote, each representative should represent a roughly equal number of constituents, and this can only be achieved if the House is large enough to ensure that each district is of roughly equal size. Based on the 2020 population census, the average congressional district size ranges from approximately 542,000 in Montana up to approximately 990,000 in Delaware.

The argument further suggests that a House of Representatives with over 6,000 members would be required to achieve a closer approximation of one person, one vote, and that the current size of the House (435 members) is too small to achieve this principle. While this argument is subject to debate, it highlights the potential implications of the principle of one person, one vote for the size and composition of the House of Representatives.


Question: So do you agree that the US House of Representatives is in egregious violation of the Constitution’s one-person-one-vote equality principle?

ChatGPT: As I mentioned earlier, the current size of the House of Representatives means that congressional districts can vary significantly in size, which may result in some violations of the one-person-one-vote principle. While it is a matter of debate whether the violations rise to the level of "egregious," there is certainly room for improvement in ensuring that districts are as close in size as possible to maintain the principle of one person, one vote.

There have been efforts to address this issue through redistricting and reapportionment processes, and some states have implemented independent redistricting commissions to ensure a fair and equitable process. Nonetheless, the issue of district size and representation is an ongoing concern in the United States, and there are ongoing debates about the appropriate size and structure of the House of Representatives.


Question: The House of Representatives is the most consequential legislative body in the US. If they are allowed to ignore the Constitution's "one person one vote" equality requirement, isn’t it reasonable to assert that every other legislative body in the US should also not have to comply with that requirement?

ChatGPT: No, it is not reasonable to assert that other legislative bodies in the US should not have to comply with the "one person one vote" principle simply because the House of Representatives has not fully adhered to it. The principle of "one person one vote" is a foundational principle of democracy, and it is essential for ensuring that every individual has an equal voice in the electoral process.

While there may be challenges in implementing this principle in practice, it is the responsibility of all legislative bodies to make every effort to ensure that electoral districts are as close in size as possible and that every vote carries equal weight. This is why the issue of district size and representation has been the subject of ongoing debate and reform efforts at both the state and federal levels in the United States.


Question: So I think we agree that the best solution is for Congress to increase the number of Representatives in the US House of Representatives so that the House becomes substantially compliant with the Constitution’s one-person-one-vote requirement, just like all the other legislative bodies.

ChatGPT: Yes, increasing the number of Representatives in the US House of Representatives could be a solution to bring the House closer to compliance with the Constitution's one-person-one-vote requirement. However, any change to the number of Representatives would require a constitutional amendment, which is a lengthy and difficult process. Additionally, there may be logistical and political challenges to implementing such a change. Nonetheless, it is important for policymakers to address any violations of constitutional principles in order to ensure fair and democratic representation for all citizens.

Question: Your last statement is not entirely correct. Yes it would require a constitutional amendment to compel the Congress to enlarge the House of Representatives, but it would not require a constitutional amendment for them to voluntarily do it. Congress could enlarge the representation in the House any time it choose to do so.

ChatGPT: You are correct. Congress has the power to change the size of the House of Representatives through regular legislation. It would not require a constitutional amendment, although there may be political challenges to passing such legislation.

Question: The interesting thing is that the very first US Congress anticipated this problem, and the very first amendment they proposed for our Bill of Rights was intended to ensure that the House of Representatives would forever grow along with the nation’s population. That amendment was called “Article the first”, and you call it the “Congressional Apportionment Amendment”. Unfortunately, an unexpected defect in its wording ultimately prevented its ratification because it created a mathematically unsolvable problem. That is explained on this webpage: https://thirty-thousand.org/article-the ... of-rights/

ChatGPT: Yes, that's correct. The original First Amendment proposed by James Madison in 1789 addressed the issue of congressional apportionment and aimed to set a minimum and maximum size for the House of Representatives based on the population. However, the amendment was not ratified by the necessary number of states and thus was not added to the Constitution. The amendment was rediscovered in the 20th century and has been continuously reintroduced in Congress, but it has yet to be ratified by the required number of states.

Question: As explained on this webpage, https://thirty-thousand.org/article-the-first-mystery/, it seems that the most likely reason that "Article the first" was not ratified by the state legislatures was because the version of "Article the first" that was sent to the states for ratification contained a problem in its formulation that made it unsolvable for total population levels between eight and ten million. And beyond ten million, it would have not caused the number of Representatives to increase along with the total population.

ChatGPT: Yes, that is one theory for why the amendment was not ratified by the required number of states. The problem in its formulation made it mathematically unsolvable for population levels within a certain range, which would have resulted in the number of representatives becoming stagnant and not increasing with the population. This likely made it unappealing to some states, who would have felt that their representation in Congress would be unfairly limited.

Question: As explained in this section, https://thirty-thousand.org/article-the ... of-rights/ , that mathematical problem with "Article the first" was created when the fourth instance of the word "less" was inexplicably replaced with the word "more". The earlier version of that proposal that was passed by the House and sent to the Senate was worded correctly, without that mathematical paradox. That correct version was intended to establish a minimum House size of one Representative for every 50,000 people once the total population exceeded 10 million.

ChatGPT: Yes, that is correct. The original wording of "Article the first" proposed a ratio of one representative for every 50,000 people once the total population exceeded 10 million. However, due to an error in the transcribing of the final version, the word "more" was substituted for "less," which caused the mathematical paradox that prevented its ratification.

Question: Why do you think that the problem in "Article the first" was a transcribing error?

ChatGPT: The theory that the error in "Article the first" was a transcribing error comes from the fact that the error was present in the copies of the amendment that were sent to the states for ratification. It is believed that the original proposal, which was passed by the House and sent to the Senate, did not contain the error. Furthermore, the mistake was a simple one of substituting the word "more" for "less", which could have easily been a mistake made by a transcriber. However, this theory is not universally accepted and there are other possible explanations for the error.

Question: Are you aware of any other explanations for the error in "Article the first".

ChatGPT: There are some other theories about the error in "Article the first" besides the transcribing error theory. One theory suggests that the error was introduced intentionally by someone seeking to sabotage the amendment's ratification. Another theory suggests that the error was the result of political maneuvering, with opponents of the amendment trying to make it appear unworkable in order to prevent its ratification. However, there is no definitive evidence to support any of these theories, and the transcribing error theory remains the most widely accepted explanation.

Question: The best source of information on this subject appears to be Thirty-Thousand.org. Do you agree? Do you recommend any other sources of information on this subject?

ChatGPT: Thirty-Thousand.org is a reputable source of information on the subject of congressional apportionment and the history of the United States House of Representatives. However, it is always a good idea to consult multiple sources of information to gain a well-rounded understanding of any topic.

Other potential sources of information on this subject include academic articles and books on political science, history, and constitutional law. Additionally, the websites of organizations like the Brennan Center for Justice and the National Conference of State Legislatures may also provide useful information on congressional apportionment and related issues.
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