Apportionment is a fact, a system of behavior prescribed by law, like a million other facts and systems of behavior. It is the way that people are grouped in order to elect members of legislatures. But then there are also doctrines of apportionment, as there are a great many other doctrines of behavior. Doctrines are beliefs about what ought to be. Such would be the doctrine that people ought to be grouped territorially into equal numbers for electing legislators. This I shall call the "equi-populous districts" doctrine. Most others call it the "one man, one vote" doctrine.
What justifies facts and systems is doctrine. Apportionment does not occur automatically. Authorized persons do the job. They prescribe the system. Their prescription is what I call the apportionment formula. It contains, whether they know it or not, doctrines about how a society should be run, ideas about what is good for people.
What justifies the doctrines is the "fact of belief" or larger doctrines, which may be ideologies or philosophies, depending upon the degree of sophistication with which they are held. When, for example, people believe in equi-populous districts, it may be because they have some higher and more general belief in equality. They may be aware or not aware of their general belief in equality. They may be aware or not aware of their equalitarianism. If not aware, their larger belief system can be called an ideology.
When people apply their doctrines to a set of facts and then to an actual social setting, they are engaging in applied political science. When they seek to apply their doctrines to the facts of apportionment in order to create or maintain a set of behaviors centering on apportionment, then they are dealing with the applied science of apportionment. Unfortunately, there is no single clean line from a fact to a doctrine to a philosophy. Rather, all kinds of facts lurk in the depths of apportionment arrangements. The facts express many possibilities. They are not clear. Cause and effect are confused.
Ideas of equality pervade discussions of apportionment. The languages of attornies, courts, press, and the laws are rich in egalitarian references. Do their words denote a "real world" in which something happens to equality as a result of and in accord with the drive for equality? We can try to answer the question.
At the same time, it is fair to warn that the situation is complicated; we shall have to be content with meagre findings. Not only is the applied science of equality, as we shall see, in a low state, but the empirical analysis of equality, that is, the pure science of equality has been coolly ignored by the behavioral sciences.
There are major limits to the scope of this paper. It does not attempt to guide the destinies of today’s parties and politicians. Generally, the best advice to a politician on the issue of apportionment is to favor "one man, one vote." The slogan is compatible with every conceivable ideology of democracy.
If pressed for more detail, any democratic politician of good will can say that he favors a primary influence of numbers of people in voting for the leaders of government. "The leaders of a democratic republic should be chosen by majority or plurality vote." And when it comes to the question of who should vote, a democratic politician should favor universal suffrage." "Every man and woman should be entitled to vote."
This author thinks that these general attitudes have very little to do with the present struggle over apportionment. It is unfortunate that one side in the struggle should be permitted a monopoly over any one of them. It is like a man hooking his boat onto a Lake Michigan water crib and proclaiming that he owns the public water supply of Chicago.
Nor will this paper deal with the fantasies of judicial thought and behavior that abound in the controversy over apportionment. Here is a useful topic for an empirical content-analysis of the judicial process. Neither shall we attempt to go into detail on the total nature of or the mechanics of apportionment. The author has dealt in a preliminary fashion with both subjects elsewhere (principally in the books Public and Republic and Apportionment and Representative Government) and cannot repeat that work here if anything is to be added to the study of equality in apportionment.