Biography and History

The New Jersey Committee for Fair Representation formed in July of 1964 in response to a Congressional effort, led by Senator Everett Dirksen, to circumvent the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Reynolds v. Sims. In June of 1964, the Supreme Court ruled on Reynolds v. Sims ordering that state legislatures be reapportioned on a population basis. The committee, consisting of New Jersey-based political science professors and lawyers, fully supported the Supreme Court’s decision. Co-chaired by Princeton professor Alpheus T. Mason and Newark lawyer Joseph Harrison, the committee met throughout the last six months of 1964 with the purpose of drafting a report consisting of recommendations for implementing the Supreme Court’s decision. Their final draft, Reapportionment in New Jersey: Recommendations and Supporting Statements, was finished in 1965 and submitted to the Legislative Reapportionment and Congressional Redistricting Commission. Among the committee’s recommendations were the retention of a bicameral legislature, the use of population for the drawing of districts, enlarging the state senate to 30 members, and the re-drawing of districts with an eye toward growth trends. The committee opposed systems of weighted or fractional voting and the tying together of state legislative and congressional districts.

Source: From the finding aid for MC099