141) To be sure, the early reapportionment cases, which were all challenges to statewide laws and hence fell under the coverage of the three-judge district court, did not particularly benefit from being litigated in those courts.
Shortly after the Court's first round of reapportionment cases, Congress affirmatively embraced the three-judge district court as the appropriate and sympathetic forum to adjudicate certain cases under the VRA, passed in 1965.
146) Perhaps surprisingly, given his opposition at the time to the reapportionment cases, among the congressional leaders supporting the provision was Senator Dirksen.
Some of the abolitionists had argued that the three-judge district court should continue to be used for certain types of controversial matters, such as reapportionment cases.
Some efforts have been made to analyze the composition of and decision making by three-judge district courts and litigant behavior in reapportionment cases, which can shed light on the question.
159) Assuming such stacking sometimes took place, did it happen in reapportionment cases?
The purported stacking of three-judge panels raises the issue of whether federal judges are making partisan decisions in reapportionment cases and related election law cases.
Whatever measures are used, the empirical evidence on ideological or partisan voting by federal judges in reapportionment and related cases is mixed.
175) Another reason for leaving such panels intact to hear reapportionment cases is that three judges would better arrive at a decision in these often complicated cases than merely one.
180) That, combined with the presumed fact that most federal judges internalize, to various degrees, norms of stare decisis, and the highly salient nature of reapportionment cases inside and outside the legal community suggests that the members of a three-judge district court are no more likely to ignore law and precedent any more than their brethren (and themselves) when sitting outside of that court.
Congress left the three-judge district court intact to decide "important" reapportionment cases, and the largely unarticulated presumption was that litigation before that court would be different than that before single district judges.
Many of the reapportionment cases have suggested that Congress could and should take a more active role in regulating state reapportionment of electoral districts, at least for members of Congress.