Since the 17th Amendment severed the direct relationship between state legislatures and the U.S. Senate nearly 100 years ago, the redistricting process has become the single most important lever for states to influence the composition of Congress.   With the mid-term elections over, and new majorities waiting in the wings in 19 state legislative chambers (see breakdown here) as well as the U.S. House of Representatives, all eyes will soon turn to state capitols for redistricting decisions that will likely echo out for a decade to come.

This article examines the success of the states in redrawing state legislative-district lines after the 2000 Census of Population. It describes the trends of this decade and highlights state experiences in dealing with both old and new issues in redistricting. Whereas the redistricting round of the 1990s was quite litigious, the 2000 round was less litigious with the states having high levels of success in adopting plans without judicial interference.