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GOP Rep. Mo Brooks has joined the state of Alabama in a lawsuit challenging the Commerce Department practice of counting everyone (not just citizens) for reapportionment.

15 states join legal fight to keep House districts based on total population

A federal judge is allowing a coalition of 15 states and the District of Columbia to be defendants in a lawsuit seeking to exclude noncitizens from being counted in the run-up to the re-allocation of congressional seats.

Last year the state of Alabama and one of its Republican congressmen, Mo Brooks, sued the Trump administration, arguing that the counting of undocumented immigrants in census figures used for determining reapportionment unfairly benefits states with higher numbers of noncitizens.

Alabama contends that counting the whole population — the practice used for apportionment since Congess began — rather than just citizens will cost the state one of its seven House seats (and therefore one of its electoral votes) following the 2020 census tally.

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The redrawing of legislative district boundaries. A 1967 federal law requires House members be elected from single-member districts that (within each state) have nearly identical populations. House maps must be redrawn after reapportionment but before the first congressional election of each decade, based on population changes in each state revealed by the census.

Read more about redistricting.


The process of redistributing the number of seats in the House of Representatives to the states based on population changes revealed by the census, after which redistricting can begin. The number of voting seats in the House was set by law at 435 in 1929, and the Commerce Department uses a mathematical formula to apportion them based on the total resident population of the 50 states – citizens and noncitizens. Each state is guaranteed at least one seat.

Read more about reapportionment.

Congressional District

A geographic area represented by one House member. The nationwide total, 435, was set by law in 1929. The districts are reapportioned once a decade. To comply with the Constitution's "one person, one vote" principal, during redistricting all districts in a state must be drawn to have nearly identical populations.

Read more about congressional districts.

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