51 Washburn L.J. 73 (2011-2012)
House of the Rising Population: The Case for Eliminating the 435-Member Limit on the U.S. House of Representatives

handle is hein.journals/wasbur51 and id is 75 raw text is: House of the Rising Population: The Case for
Eliminating the 435-Member Limit on the U.S. House
of Representatives
Byron J. Harden*
More than two centuries ago the Founding Fathers placed their lives in
peril by standing up to British tyranny and declaring independence. They
objected to the British assault on self-governance of the American colonies.
Today, the Founding Fathers are being assaulted once again, this time by a
statute that undermines the very process the Founders put into place to protect
self-governance in the United States. Until 1929, an apportionment process
tied to the decennial census determined the size of the U.S. House of
Representatives.1 Accordingly, the membership of the House progressively
increased in tandem with the increasing population.2 The Founding Fathers
envisioned House membership increasing with the population in order for the
House to remain representative of the people.3        However, The Founders'
vision was destroyed by the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929 (1929
Act).4 This statute locked in House membership at the 1929 number of 435
members.5 Over eighty years later, the 435-member limit remains in effect,
despite the U.S. population increasing over threefold during that period.6
House districts have become leviathans averaging over 500,000 persons per
district.7 These colossal districts are as dangerous to the nation today as the
British were at the time of the Founding. Unfortunately for citizens of the
Unites States, few are willing to stand up and confront this danger.
* B.A. 2009, Thomas A. Edison State College; J.D. Candidate 2012, Washburn University School of
Law. A project of this magnitude requires the assistance and support of many people. Professionally, I
would like to thank the Washburn Law Journal Editorial Board for your editorial assistance, Professor
Reggie Robinson for your feedback, Clayton L. Barker, Esq., for granting access to your law library and
knowledge, and the website www.thirty-thousand.org for giving me the idea and a starting point for this
Note. Personally, I would like to thank my parents, fianc6, and friends for your support and my grandmother
Edith Harden for inspiring me to write.
1. Charles A. Kromkowski & John A. Kromkowski, Why 435? A Question of Political Arithmetic, 24
POLITY 129, 133 (1991).
2.  Id.
3. See infra Part II.A.
4. See infra Part II.B.
5.  Id.
6. Clemons v. U.S. Dep't of Commerce, 710 F.Supp. 2d 570, 572 (N.D. Miss. 2010).
7. Kromkowski & Kromkowski, supra note 1, at 135.


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