Pennsylvania Supreme Court unveils new congressional map

Pennsylvania Supreme Court unveils new congressional map

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania [official website] released a map [opinion, PDF] on Monday intended to remedy what the court declared as the unconstitutional gerrymandering present in the 2011 redistricting plan.

While the court gave the legislature 18 days to devise a new plan, the legislature did not meet this deadline. The court had previously ruled that in this case, it would be up to the judiciary to create a new map.

The court described the remedial map as “composed of congressional districts which follow the traditional redistricting criteria of compactness, contiguity, equality of population, and respect for the integrity of political subdivisions.” The court explained [JURIST report] this criteria in an opinion published at the beginning of the month. The court based their remedial map off of criteria that the plaintiffs set forth in Commonwealth Court.

The remedial plan tried to maintain the integrity of counties, with only 13 being split. The court said, “no district has more than a one-person difference in population from any other district, and, therefore, the Remedial Plan achieves the constitutional guarantee of one person, one vote.”

The new plan will be used in the May 2018 primaries, but not in any special elections before that date.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] the 2011 plan in January. After the ruling, the Pennsylvania Senate President refused [JURIST report] to turn over redistricting data to the court. At the beginning of February, the US Supreme Court denied [JURIST report] a request for stay of the Pennsylvania court’s order.