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Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down congressional districting plan as unconstitutional

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania [official website] on Monday struck down [opinion, PDF] the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011 [statute] as violating the state constitution.

The plaintiffs in the League of Women Voters v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania accused [JURIST report] the General Assembly of unfairly drawing voting districts to discriminate against Democratic voters.

The court is giving the Pennsylvania General Assembly until February 9 to submit a new redistricting plan to the governor, and, if he approves it, the plan must then be submitted to the court by February 15. The new plan will be followed in the May primary elections. If the General Assembly does not submit the approved plan in time, the "Court shall proceed expeditiously to adopt a plan based on the evidentiary record developed in the Commonwealth Court."

Three of the seven justices dissented, and another justice filed a concurring and dissenting opinion.

The Commonwealth Court had ruled [JURIST report] in December that there were no "judicially manageable" standards.

Earlier this month, a federal district court rejected [JURIST report] the plaintiffs' election clause claim in the other Pennsylvania redistricting case, Agre v. Wolf. The judges failed to reach a majority opinion. This opinion had little effect on the League of Women Voters case, as the latter was based in state, not federal, law.

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