Penn. Court: Partisan Maps "Clearly, Plainly, Palpably" Violate State Constitution

Author: Fair Vote
Created: 22 January, 2018
Updated: 17 October, 2022
1 min read

In an order issued on Monday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the district lines “clearly, plainly and palpably” violate the state Constitution and gave the Republican legislature until February 9 to draw new ones.

It is the second ruling in less than two weeks where a court has struck down an entire state congressional map as unconstitutional and demanded that the state legislature oversee a redraw in time for the November 2018 elections.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court quickly issued a stay last week in the North Carolina case. Two other partisan gerrymandering cases – one from Wisconsin (Gill v Whitford) and another from Maryland (Benisek v Lamone) – are awaiting rulings from the Court this spring.

Republicans in Pennsylvania immediately indicated that they would seek a similar stay; it’s likely to be granted, with both the North Carolina and Pennsylvania cases likely to be affected by whatever the Court determines in Gill and Benisek.

The difference here, however, is that this is a state ruling based on a reading of a state constitution – so predicting the outcome here based on the other cases could be complicated.

The Pennsylvania congressional maps were drawn by the Republican legislature in 2011. They helped tilt the swing state’s delegation in Washington to 13 Republicans and 5 Democrats.

The maps have been a Republican firewall: In 2012, for example, Democrats won almost 100,000 more votes, but still earned less than 28 percent of the seats. Not a single seat has changed hands all decade on these maps.

New maps would likely erase the GOP advantage and create something closer to a 50/50 split, most redistricting experts agree.

Editor's Note: This article originally published on FairVote's blog, and has been modified slightly for publication on IVN. 

IVP Existence Banner

Latest articles

Donald Trump
Trump's Chance to Temper the Hyperbolic Rhetoric
In the wake of the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump, leaders on both sides of the aisle publicly called for unity and the tempering of extreme and hyperbolic language. But those calls have been better in theory, than practice....
15 July, 2024
3 min read
major parties
Disagree Better: Group of Governors Have Worked to Cool Down the Political Rhetoric
Following the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump, leaders of both major political parties have called for unity and for a change to the venomous rhetoric in US politics. ...
15 July, 2024
6 min read
Does Partisanship Have Too Much Influence on SCOTUS?
The Supreme Court of the United States is a unique, hybrid political-legal institution. It is staffed by life-tenured judges who interpret a centuries-old document replete with imprecise text that the justices must apply to an ever-changing society....
12 July, 2024
10 min read