Baker v. Carr (1962)

Definition - What does Baker v. Carr (1962) mean?

In Baker v. Carr, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that questions about legislative apportionment were, in fact, questions of law and that the courts could force states to apportion their bicameral legislatures according to population.

The Court’s decision in Baker reflected a change in jurisprudence, as previous Supreme Court rulings held apportionment to be a political question.

Justipedia explains Baker v. Carr (1962)

The separation of powers that American democracy is rooted in requires courts to refuse to rule in cases involving political questions as opposed to questions of law. For several decades before the Supreme Court ruled that the State of Tennessee violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause in Baker v. Carr, the Court maintained that the way state governments apportioned representatives was a political question to be resolved by voters.

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