Is there a way to change Congressional apportionment in the House to make it “fair”? If yes, how? If no, why not?
Article I section II of the Constitution sets up the House of Representative as being the house of congress with equal representation among all American citizens. For most of American history this has been accurate, each representative having almost an equal number of citizens within their districts. However, as the American population took off in the early to mid 20th century and more people moved from the country to the cities, the equal distribution of representation has decreased. Congress capping the number of House representatives at 435 seats in 1929 only made this problem worse. It has increased the number of citizens each seat represents and has widened the gap of how many people one representative represents such as the case of Wyoming and Montana. Wyoming’s house member represents 579,315 citizens while Montana’s represents over a million. This means that a citizen in Wyoming has more of a voice in Congress than a citizen in Montana. They will also have a better chance of contacting and voicing their opinions to their representative then Montanans. Another glaring problem with representation is the fact that there are American citizens who have absolutely no voice at all. People living in legal American citizens. With the Constitution stating that all citizens will have equal representation in the House, we are denying this given right to over 4 million American. The only way to fix this by removing the cap of 435 seats and redistributing seats to be more even. Many politicians will argue against this due to it possibly increasing the number of seats one party has over the other. However putting partisanship aside, all Americans should want everyone to have an equal voice in the House. Seats should be given to DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam based on their population sizes and congress should divide seats in a way that makes the margin of difference of how many citizens a representative represents as small as possible. Equal representation among citizens should be an important issue for any politician because if it’s not the case then the government is going directly against how it was intended to be.
In the politics, society, and law scholars program all incoming freshmen get broken up into small groups and assigned to two second years, who are supposed to act as their mentor throughout their first year. For my interview I interviewed Emma King, one of my mentors.
Emma is from Sylvania, Ohio, a city north of Toledo near the Ohio-Michigan boarder. She is a political science and psychology double major and after she graduates she wants to pursue a career as a criminal defense lawyer. Emma said that her favorite part about OSU is the fact that there is always something to do, whether its on campus or off. Outside of PSL, Emma is also apart of Ohio State’s very successful mock trial team and college dems. Emma said that the main reason why she decided to apply to become a PSL mentor was because her mentors last year were not really involved and she wanted to be someone that the freshmen could look to for help and ask for advice from. Emma also said that her favorite PSL event last year was the Halloween party because it is her favorite holiday and getting to dress up with everyone was a lot of fun. For the last part of my interview I decided to ask Emma about recommendations for the best spots to go to around campus. She recommended studying in the basement of the Union because there is almost never people down there or at Orton Library. She also said that her favorite places to eat on campus is at the Union market or Mirror Lake Eatery.
Overall, my interview with Emma was a lot of fun and it was great getting to know more about her and have an upperclassmen to talk to about campus and upcoming PSL events.
For the field trip to the Ohio Correctional Reception Center we got a tour of the facility and the ability to talk to several people who hold high ranking jobs within the prison. We started off the day signing in along with a dozen or so other people who had come for visiting hours. First, my group toured the juvenile and medical assistance buildings. Although we only saw two prisoners in the juvenile area, it was odd to think that everyone in there was younger then I am. While there, the people giving out tour explained how they’re trying to better implement technology into the prison such as allowing video calls with family members and giving every prisoner an Ipad like device that they can play games on and call people from. After this, we headed over to the reception and processing building. We were shown how they they process the prisoners and assign them to their home facilities and got to see people being brought into the prison for the first time. After this we toured the cell blocks of both the cadres, those whose home facility is the Reception Center, and the regular prisoners who are being processed. The feeling between these two could not have been more different. While in the cadres’ building we saw the dogs that they foster and overall the prisoners’ stuck to what they were doing and did not pay any attention to us. However, the regular cell block was much more crowded, to the point that the open floor space was covered in bunked beds in order to have enough for everyone, and we received a lot more stares. After this we were able to ask a few last minute questions and as we were leaving saw hundreds of prisoners come into the courtyard and headed to the cafeteria building for lunch.
To me this field trip was pretty eye opening. I was surprised to hear about their project to implement more technology into the prison system and the amount of rules and regulations that the prison itself must follow that are national or federal laws. It was also nice to see the dogs being fostered because as a dog person myself, I know how much a dog can help with depression and teaches responsibility. However, if I had to pick one thing that was the most significant to me, I would say it was seeing family members signing in for visiting hours. Most of the families in there had little children and it was truly sad to think about how those kids could possibly grow up without knowing their fathers or having them in there life. Going into this, I knew already that having someone in your family in prison was extremely hard but seeing in person really showed just how bad it is. Although I am sure that almost all of the people in that prison had done something that made them deserve to be there, the visitors proved that those people are also fathers, sons, and brothers.
After this field trip I’ve learned to look at everything that is portrayed on TV about prisons with a grain of salt. In real life they are much more strictly run and helpful, with implementing technology and helping people get the their GE, then is shown in shows. This trip also showed me that when talking about prison, it’s extremely easy to forget that the people in there are also normal humans with families and jobs and homes and although them being locked up does not affect me directly, it is effecting someone. Overall, I think I gained a deeper appreciation for what the correction officers at prisons and the actual prisoners go through and that its much more serious of an issue then what TV shows and movies portray.