Washington Law Review


This case study of the impact of Baker v. Carr on the State of Washington attempts to discern the nature of the role of the judiciary in the implementation of new reapportionment rules. Redistricting is usually thought of as a highly political area, outside the normal involvement of courts. Now that federal judges are under a mandate to consider the problems in this area, it is important to understand the capacity of the judicial system to discharge its role. By exercising their power with restraint, the federal judges in Washington sought to influence the political system to do its duty without an open confrontation betwden the federal judiciary and the state legislature. The author concludes that the actions taken by the federal judges were a necessary condition for redistricting in Washington in 1965. His insights into the political decision-making process may have immediate value as the 1971 legislature faces its constitutional duty to redistrict the state.

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