Has the 14th amendment ever been invoked to reduce a state's representation in Congress?

Following up on this thread:

Has the 14th amendment ever been invoked to reduce a state’s representation in Congress? Section 2 provides that

My question is factual: Has this section ever been invoked, successfully or unsuccessfully, to reduce a state’s representation?

Yes, we were up to 3 at one time but now only have one.

I’m not sure what you are asking. Every 10 years, after the census, they reapportion representatives, and, yes, some states lose representatives. The results from the 2010 census:


9 states lost representation - Ohio and New York lost 2. Texas gained 4. Florida gained 2. 6 more states gained 1.

Sorry, I should have been clearer: I am not asking about the regular reapportionment after each decennial census. I am asking about a reduction in representation under section 2’s second sentence:

Wikipedia says no:

“However, this provision was never enforced while the southern states continued to use various pretexts to prevent many blacks from voting right up until the passage of Voting Rights Act in 1965.”

It also says that the impetus for the act was that the “Radical Republicans” in control of Congress were worried that with Blacks now counting 1 rather than 3/5 for the purpose of allocating seats that the South would become too strong, so this amendment was designed to not give them numbers in the House unless they enfranchised Blacks who would presumably side with the Republicans.

My how times have changed.

Ah, I understand the question. I think the OP is asking if the 14th Amendment was ever used to punish a state for voter suppression/disenfranchisement, by reducing that state’s Congressional representation.

As far as I know (at least since Reconstruction) a state’s Congressional representation has always been determined by law, based on Census results.

Curtrently the power to enforce the voting provisions of the Consttituiuon is codified in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Thanks for the answers.

This was debated seriously only once, after the census of 1900. During the decade of the 1890’s, several Southern states amended their constitutions to disenfranchise large portions of their adult male populations. The principle devices used were literacy tests and disqualification of poll tax delinquents. The obvious purpose was to disenfranchise African Americans, but the measures had the incidental (and not entirely unintended) effect of discouraging many poor whites from voting as well.

Representative Edgar Crumpacker, Republican of Indiana, introduced a motion to recommit the decennial reapportionment bill to committee with instructions to reduce the representation of the relevant Southern states. Even though Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, and would have benefited from reducing the number of Southern Democrats, the measure was defeated 136-94 in the House and never came to a vote in the Senate. One objection was that it was impossible to precisely quantify the number of people disenfrachised within each state. Many disenfranchised people could in theory qualify by passing a test or paying their taxes. The more serious stumbling block was that many northern Republicans (and/or their constituents) had prejudices of their own and didn’t have the stomach for picking fights with the opposition over racial exclusion.

The matter was also briefly discussed in 1921, when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency, but there were other problems with reapportionment that year and Congress never did pass a bill.

I wonder if the provision could be enforced by comparing census numbers to the number of, say, valid drivers’ licenses or other state ID issued to voting age men. The law effectively disenfranchises you if you do not have the correct ID. That should be something that can be tracked.

Is ee the clause gives an out by allowing disenfranchisement of felons.

One big problem is that there is nothing in the laws of the United States or any state that requires you to vote, to register to vote, or to attempt to register to vote and be denied. So if, for example you had a state with 2.5 million voting-age adults, 1.5 million ID cards issued, 1.2 million registered voters and 900,000 actual voters, you’d have to show that the 1 million adults without ID cards were actually denied them, rather than never applying for them.

According to this cite, Alabama, Connecticut and Indianaactually have more drivers licensed issued than people who are old enough to drive, so it’s going to be hard to draw a direct relationship between who has a valid ID and who’s being disenfranchised.