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Reports: Penn. Justices Appear Open to Striking Down Gerrymandered Map

by Richard Winger, published

On January 17, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v Commonwealth, a partisan gerrymandering case challenging congressional redistricting in Pennsylvania. Here is a Pittsburgh Post Gazette news story about the hearing. Here is a Huffington Post story.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports:

"Based on the tenor of their questions, a majority of the court, which has five Democrats and two Republicans, appeared open to the argument that Pennsylvania's congressional districts are unfairly gerrymandered. A group of Democratic voters has asked the court to overturn the map and order a new one drawn before the 2018 elections, in one of several such lawsuits nationwide."

Huffington Post writes:

"During an oral argument that lasted about two and a half hours in a packed courtroom, the justices seemed resistant to the plaintiffs’ suggestion that any level of partisanship would be unacceptable in drawing district lines. Reaching such a conclusion would mean the court would be wading into redistricting more than any court had before, said Justice Debra McCloskey Todd. 

But a plurality of the justices seemed more open to a map that took into consideration some partisan concerns as long as they were not given more importance than traditional, neutral redistricting requirements, such as those mandating districts be compact and contiguous. David Gersch, the lawyer for those challenging the congressional map, said such an approach would be acceptable as a fallback position."

Editor's Note: This update originally published on Ballot Access News. It has been modified slightly for publication on IVN.

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