The Pennsylvania Supreme Court redrew the state’s congressional district lines after finding the current map was intentionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans, over the vigorous objections of the state GOP and President Donald Trump.
Democrats are favored to win four more seats under the new map, a boon to their efforts to win control of the House of Representatives this November. Republicans currently hold 13 of the state’s 18 seats. Under the new map, projections suggest Democrats and Republicans will each win nine districts.
In an early Tuesday tweet, Trump urged Pennsylvania Republicans to fight the judge-imposed map all the way to the Supreme Court.
Hope Republicans in the Great State of Pennsylvania challenge the new “pushed” Congressional Map, all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary. Your Original was correct! Don’t let the Dems take elections away from you so that they can raise taxes & waste money!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2018
The justices refused to review the state Supreme Court’s decision finding the current map unlawfully favors Republicans on Feb. 5. The state court’s decision was made under the auspices of Pennsylvania’s constitution. The high court generally allows state courts to have the final word on matters relating to a state’s constitution. Stanford Law School professor Nathaniel Persily, an election law expert, helped the panel produce a new map.
The Pennsylvania court’s ruling was a major development in election law. Very few courts have found that intentionally drawing district lines to favor one party, a practice called partisan gerrymandering, is unlawful.
Democratic appointees command a five to two majority on the Pennsylvania court. The tribunal issued its own map after the Republican controlled legislature failed to broker a compromise with Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat.
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