Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopts new map for US House districts
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopts new map for US House districts

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted Wednesday the state’s new congressional map for the US House of Representatives, breaking a partisan deadlock.

The court selected a map submitted by Pennsylvania voters. The map adheres to the prescribed goals of Pennsylvania’s redistricting process and reorganizes the previous 18 congressional districts into the newly reapportioned 17.

Traditionally, the Pennsylvania redistricting process takes place in the state legislature. Congressional maps for the US House of Representatives are presented as a bill and require the approval of both houses as well as the governor to become law. Following months of deadlock in the Pennsylvania legislature, however, the redistricting process ended up before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The court’s 4-3 decision was issued Wednesday in a per curiam order following oral arguments last Friday. During oral arguments, the justices considered a number of maps including those drawn by Democrat representatives, Republican representatives, and nonpartisan groups. Ultimately, the court chose the “Carter map,” which was submitted by the same group of Pennsylvania voters who sought to intervene in the redistricting process in December 2021.

According to FiveThirtyEight, the Carter map provides for eight Republican-leaning districts, six Democratic-leaning districts and three closely divided districts. Pennsylvania lost one US House of Representatives seat in the reapportionment process last year due to slow population growth. As a result, instead of 18 seats, Pennsylvania was left with 17.

The map is unlikely to result in a large shift in the Pennsylvania delegation to the US House of Representatives. The first test of the new map will occur on May 17 with the Pennsylvania primary election.