“After entertaining oral argument on January 23, 2012, this court finds that the final 2011 legislative Reapportionment Map is contrary to law. Accordingly, the final 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Plan is REMANDED [sent back to] the 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Commission…”
With those words, it is a whole new ball game. The Legislative Reapportionment Commission will have to reconvene and redraw the state House and state Senate maps.
The leaders of the Republican caucuses in the state House and state Senate will surely criticize the decision.
The Supreme court decision was by a vote of 4-3. Voting in the majority were Justices Castille, Baer, McCloskey Todd and McCaffery. Justices Saylor, Eakin and Orie Melvin dissented.
The new deadlines are as follows:
January 26: First day to circulate nominating petitions
February 16: Last day to circulate nominating petitions
February 23: Last day to submit objections
February 27: Last day for hearings on objections
March 2nd: Last day to withdraw candidacy and last day for courts to make rulings on ballot eligibility.
The 2001 lines apply until the commission passes new legislative boundaries.
Majority Leader, State Sen. Dominic Pileggi’s Statement:
“This is uncharted territory, and at this point the court has not provided the information needed for the Legislative Reapportionment Commission to fully understand how to proceed. As a member of the Commission, I will do everything in my power to ensure that a redistricting plan for the General Assembly is enacted as promptly as possible when the court releases its opinion.”
Minority Leader, State Sen. Jay Costa’s Statement:
“We are pleased to learn that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the many petitioners who filed an appeal to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission’s final plan. We are grateful that the Supreme Court honored Pennsylvania’s Constitution and Commonwealth voters. It is a very important matter, and it is the responsibility of the reapportionment commission to devise a plan that is true to both the Constitution and the voters of Pennsylvania. Counties and communities must have their voices heard in Harrisburg, and our goal was to make sure that the 2011 redistricting process achieved that. We are thankful that the Court and the many petitioners understood the concerns of the voters who took the time and effort to express their concerns to both the Commission and ultimately the Court. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court acted with respect for the Constitution, communities across our commonwealth, and the voters. We await the state Supreme Court’s direction regarding drafting a new reapportionment plan for the commonwealth.”
Tim Potts, Co-Founder of Democracy Rising Pennsylvania said:
“This gives citizens a chance to have districts that are designed with citizens in mind rather than partisan political leadership. It is an excellent sign that the Supreme Court is returning to its historic role of enforcing the Constitution against the whims and excesses of the General Assembly.”