On Monday, January 22 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision that the 2011 redistricting of Pennsylvania’s congressional seats violated the state constitution. Pennsylvania has 18 congressional districts; 13 of them are held by Republicans and just 5 are held by Democrats. The Court decided that the maps that yielded that representation were too motivated by political party and gerrymandered to protect Republican control.
In their decision, the court mandated that new maps be in place before the 2018 midterm elections. They gave the General Assembly until February 9 to come up with a new map and pass it through both chambers. Then, Governor Tom Wolf has until February 15 to submit the plan to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court rejects that plan, or the legislature fails to pass one, the court will appoint someone to draw or choose a map.
On February 9, the Republican presiding officers of the House and Senate have shared a congressional redistricting map with the governors office. This map was not the product of bipartisan work, nor is it a piece of legislation that passed through both chambers. On February 13, Governor Wolf’s rejected the maps. He told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that he will not accept the proposed map Republican legislative leaders submitted because it, too, is a partisan gerrymander that does not comply with the court’s order or Pennsylvania’s Constitution.
On February 15, Pa Democrats submitted their plan. Senator Costa said, “Senate Democrats submitted an excellent congressional redistricting plan to the court today. It meets the key elements of constitutionality identified by the court. The plan includes far less municipal splits than the Republican submission or the 2011 plan, adheres to the requirements of the Voting Rights Act and eliminates voter confusion by not moving any incumbent member of Congress who is seeking re-election this year or anyone who is involved in a special election.” Continue to read below to stay up to date on this issue.
On February 19, 2018, the PA Supreme Court imposed a new congressional map for the 2018 elections. Under the court’s redrawn map, districts more closely align with county lines, and only 13 counties are split among two or three districts. Following the Supreme Courts new map, Pennsylvania republicans challenge this map as well. On March 19, The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a Republican challenge to the newly drawn Pennsylvania congressional map ahead of the 2018 elections.
Our Members at Work
Harrisburg – March 19, 2018 – State Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) released the following statement on today’s decision from the federal court on redistricting: I applaud the federal court for denying the Republican challenge to the new map. The map provided by the...read more
Harrisburg – February 23, 2018 – State Sen. Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) statement on congressional redistricting: "While the map ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court addresses the problem of political gerrymandering -- and that was absolutely...read more
Harrisburg – February 15, 2018 – Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) released the following statement concerning the submission of a congressional redistricting plan to the state Supreme Court. Senate Democrats submitted the plan following the court’s...read more
Harrisburg, Pa. − February 13, 2018 − Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa fully supports Governor Wolf’s decision to reject the maps presented to him last week by just two Republican members. “A proposal that makes districts slightly more compact but no more fair or...read more
Harrisburg, PA − February 9, 2018 − Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa and House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody send letter to Gov. Wolf condemning the congressional redistricting map shared with his office saying this: "This map was not the product of bipartisan...read more
Harrisburg – February 9, 2018 – In a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf on the preparation of new congressional maps, state Sen. Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) reminded the governor that the new districts must adhere to the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of...read more
HARRISBURG, February 8, 2018 – State Sen. Lisa M. Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh) is praising the Ohio legislature for reaching a bipartisan compromise on a statewide referendum that would allow Ohio voters to decide whether to overhaul how their state’s congressional...read more
Pennsylvania court throws out congressional boundaries
By MARC LEVY
Jan. 23, 2018
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the state’s widely criticized congressional map Monday, granting a major victory to Democrats who alleged the 18 districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Republicans and setting off a scramble to draw a new map.
In the Democratic-controlled court’s decision, the majority said the boundaries “clearly, plainly and palpably” violate the state’s constitution and blocked the boundaries from remaining in effect for the 2018 elections with just weeks until dozens of people file paperwork to run for Congress.