In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 9, 2009 / 22 Mar-Cheshvan 5770

How to build a better House

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On their way to Washington after last week's special elections to fill two vacancies in the House of Representatives are John Garamendi of California's 10th congressional district, and Bill Owens of New York's 23rd. When the congressmen-elect are sworn in, the House will again have its full complement of representatives. To mark the occasion, here is a short civics quiz:

1. According to the Constitution, how many members serve in the House of Representatives?

2. Why did the Framers believe the size of the House should be kept at a fixed number?

3. As of 2009, which of the following approximates the number of residents in each congressional district: (a) 530,000 (b) 700,000 or (c) 970,000?

Go to the head of the class if you recognized all three as trick questions.

To begin with (answering Question 1), the Constitution does not stipulate the number of House members, other than allowing no more than one representative for every 30,000 residents. Sixty-five men were elected to the first House of Representatives, but it was taken for granted that the membership would increase with the nation's population.

Far from favoring a fixed membership for the House (Question 2), the Framers opposed the idea. They went out of their way to dispel "fears arising from the smallness of the body," as James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 55, and took it "for granted . . . that the number of representatives will be augmented from time to time in the manner provided by the Constitution." Madison reinforced the point in Federalist No. 56, assuring those who worried that a 65-member House would grow distant and oligarchical that "the foresight of the [Constitutional] Convention has . . . taken care that the progress of population may be accompanied with a proper increase of the representative branch of the government."

For the next 12 decades, "the progress of population" was indeed accompanied by an increase in the size of the House, which was enlarged after each census. But the House didn't grow as fast as the American nation did, which meant that the ratio of congressmen to citizens -- a measurement of democratic representation -- kept shrinking. There was one House member for every 37,000 Americans after the 1790 Census, but after 1850 the ratio dropped to one for every 98,000, and by 1900 it was down to one for every 194,000. In 1911, when Congress passed a bill expanding the House to 435 members, the population of the United States was up to 92 million: For every representative, in other words, there were more than 211,000 people.

Nearly a century later, the House membership remains frozen at 435, even as the US population has surged to 305 million. There are now more than 700,000 Americans for member of the US House, which is another way of saying that the average congressional district is home to 700,000 constituents.

Yet 700,000 is not the correct answer to Question 3. Since every state is entitled to at least one House seat, and since the population of every state cannot be divided evenly into multiples of 700,000, the number of residents in each congressional district varies sharply. At the extremes, Montana's lone US representative has 967,000 constituents, while the member from Wyoming represents fewer than 533,000. That disparity -- more than 430,000 between the largest congressional district and the smallest -- means that residents of some states have considerably more voting power in Congress than residents of others. And that, insist the plaintiffs in a lawsuit making its way through a federal court in Mississippi, violates the principle of one-person, one-vote.

The lawsuit argues that only by enlarging its membership to at least 932 -- or better yet, 1,761 -- can the House return to districts of equal size. Whether the suit will succeed is an open question. But what a blessing if it did! Quadruple the size of the House, and congressional districts would again be small and compact, ideally suited to the retail politics of an earlier era, and more closely aligned with discrete communities and neighborhoods. Enlarge the House, and it would fill with new blood, new thinking, and new energy. Elections would be more competitive, since it would take fewer votes to win. The House would grow more diverse, more lively, more representative.

Today's incumbents would hate the idea, of course: It would dilute their power and make them more accountable. For a congressional baron, there could be no fate more odious. But James Madison would certainly approve.

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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