PA Supreme Court strikes down congressional maps, rules gerrymandering unconstitutional

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Pennsylvania's top Republican lawmakers said they are outraged by the state Supreme Court's decision to strike down the boundaries of the state's 18 congressional districts and will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to halt it. Both Republican justices dissented.

The court's two-page order said the legislature has until February 9 to submit a new electoral map to Democratic governor Tom Wolf, who would have until February 15 to sign off. Because Democrats tend to live clustered together in cities, while Republicans tend to be more spread out across suburbs and rural areas, a requirement to draw compact maps that incorporate county and municipal boundaries will tend to favor Republicans.

Republicans now control both houses of the general assembly, setting up another potential battle over a map that now has the GOP in control of 12 of the state's 18 congressional districts.

According to the order, congressional districts in the state must be "composed of compact and contiguous territory; as almost equal in population as practicable; and which do not divide any county, city, incorporated town, borough, township, or ward, except where necessary to ensure equality of population".

The ruling could encourage groups to bring similar challenges against congressional gerrymandering cases in other states and bypass a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, which is now considering two cases dealing with partisan gerrymandering. In a conference call with reporters, McKenzie referred to the map as "one of the worst gerrymanders in American history".

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The Democratic-controlled court issued the order Monday.

Some of Pennsylvania's districts are extremely gerrymandered, including the state's 7th District - a bizarrely shaped seat Republicans traditionally win, but one Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 by a slim two-point margin. Rep.

Because the decision was made on the basis of the state, not the U.S., Constitution, SCOTUS is very unlikely to intervene to save the bacon of Pennsylvania Republicans. He did so in the hope that SCOTUS would rule the practice unconstitutional, which could happen, but for now, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has taken matters into its own hands.

The case split the Pennsylvania Supreme Court largely along partisan lines.

The plaintiffs had argued the map violates the Pennsylvania Constitution's guarantees of free expression and equal protection. Something else, the judges said they will receive an arrangement with an end goal to keep the May 15 essential race on track.

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