The League of Women Voters and voters from all 18 of Pennsylvania’s Congressional districts are filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court asking to have the current map thrown out because of partisan gerrymandering.
The lawsuit argues that the map was drawn to put as many Democratic voters into the 1st, 2nd, 13th, 14th, and 17th districts to give Republican voters a majority in the other 13 districts.
“By any measure, Pennsylvania’s congressional map is among the top three starkest partisan gerrymanders in the country. This map was drawn to ensure that our general elections will be decided before voters even go to the polls on Election Day,” legal director with the Public Interest Law Center Mimi McKenzie said in a statement about the filing.
The Public Interest Law Center is part of the legal team representing the petitioners in the case. .
In the filing, the groups point to statements from the U.S. and Pennsylvania Supreme Courts condemning partisan gerrymandering.
“This practice is illegal and has been condemned by the Supreme Courts of the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The U.S. Supreme Court has explained that ‘[p]artisan gerrymanders . . . are incompatible with democratic principles.’ … The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has written that a partisan gerrymander would violate the Pennsylvania Constitution when ‘there was intentional discrimination against an identifiable political group’ that resulted in ‘an actual discriminatory effect on that group,’” the filing argues.
The League of Women Voters wants the lines declare unconstitutional by the Commonwealth Court, and force the lines to be redrawn ahead of the 2018 election.
There is currently a case before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional and asking the court to make it illegal.
The League of Women Voters wants to make it illegal to use any identifiable markers to draw the lines. This includes party identification, or individual political beliefs.