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Supreme Court Hears Redistricting Case

The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the state’s Congressional maps to try to determine if they violate the state’s Constitution free speech and free and fair elections protections.

According to the Post-Gazette, a majority of the Justices “appeared open to the argument that Pennsylvania’s congressional districts are unfairly gerrymandered.”  The seven Justice court consists of five Democrats and two Republicans.  

The defense, who are arguing the current maps meet the legal requirements for the map, argued that the plaintiffs do not have a right to what they claim they do.  

“There is no right to proportional representation (based on statewide voter registration).  There is no right to vote for somebody who wins,” attorney Mark Braden argued according to the Patriot News.  

“We are hopeful that today’s arguments helped the Court understand how important it is to not allow another congressional election to take place under this map, which discriminates against voters on the basis of their political views and their votes,” Legal Director for the Public Interest Law Center Mimi McKenzie, who represents the plaintiffs, said in a press release.  

If the court rules the maps need to be redrawn ahead of the 2018 primary, it could force deadlines for the Congressional campaigns back to ensure candidates have time to file in the proper districts and the Department of State to do its election day procedures.

6 Responses

  1. “Since when are Republicans and Democrats protected classes?” you miss the point of this litigation. unfair districts deprive qualified voters of an opportunity to elect whom they choose. read the federal voting rights cases about premium districts deliberately constructed to deny blacks a chance to elect representatives to understand the great public concern about this matter.

  2. My guess is the justices will rule that maps unconstitutional and lay out guidelines for legislature to follow for redrawing maps. The catch will be that the court doesn’t mandate changes be made for 2018, but for 2020.

    1. concur; quite a scramble a redistricting would provoke, were it to be implemented within weeks

    2. Not a bad guess; however, if the Court finds that there is a constitutional violation they will have a hard time explaining why that violation wouldn’t necessitate an immediate change to the district maps before 2018. Constitutional violations don’t accommodate for scrambles.

    3. This would track closely with what happened when they threw out the gerrymandered maps in 2012, right around the same time (late January, early February). The new districts went into effect in 2014. Of course, they were able to use the old 2000 maps in the interim.

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