Pa. Supreme Court Voids Congressional Map, Orders Redrawing

Supreme Court rules in favor of redistricting complaint

Republicans have for years relied on picking and choosing which district their voters are in to maintain their majorities in Congress.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the state's congressional map is the result of gerrymandering, to the point that it violates the state constitution.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly - now controlled by Republicans - has until February 15 to redraw the map.

Opponents of the map argued the state legislature violated the state's constitution by drawing House districts to expressly benefit Republicans.

The case names Republican legislative leaders as defendants because the GOP controlled the General Assembly, and thus redistricting, the last two times maps were drawn.

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".

"No matter how you cut this, this is a federal court issue", said Drew Crompton, chief of staff to Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County.

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"It shows there may be a second front in the war against gerrymandering that does not depend on what the U.S. Supreme Court does or does not do in the Wisconsin and Maryland cases", Li said. They said it lacks clarity and respect for the constitution, and that they would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and halt the decision. The court is expected to rule by the end of June in both cases.

"We suspect that the U.S. Supreme Court will hopefully have interest in this as they've had interest in the North Carolina case", he said.

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.

Justice Max Baer agreed the map was unconstitutional but said the rush to draw new district boundaries would disrupt the May primaries.

The right to vote is one of the most basic guaranteed under the Constitution.

Otherwise, the justices say they will adopt a plan in an effort to keep the May 15 primary election on track.

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