Pennsylvania Supreme Court: State Congressional Map is Unconstitutional

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Credits: Wikimedia

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state’s congressional map is unconstitutional.

The decision is a major victory for Democrats. They complained that the redistricting in Pennsylvania was a result of gerrymandering to benefit Republicans.

Gerrymandering is a practice of manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency for the benefit of a particular party. Pennsylvania

In its ruling on Monday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said the electoral map “clearly, plainly and palpably violates” the state’s Constitution. The high court ordered the Republican-controlled legislature to redraw the state’s congressional map.

The legislature has until February 8 to pass a plan and send it to Governor Tom Wolf for approval.  The deadline for the governor to submit it to the court is on February 15.

Pennsylvania is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country, according to political experts.

Pennsylvania GOP leaders to appeal the ruling

The state’s Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and Senate President Pro Tempore Jose Scarnati said the court’s deadline is “impossible.” They intend to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“It is clear that with this ruling the Court is attempting to bypass the Constitution and the legislative process and legislate themselves, directly from the bench,” they said.

Gov. Wolf says gerrymandering is wrong

In a statement, Gov. Wolf said, “I strongly believe that gerrymandering is wrong and consistently have stated that the current maps are unfair to Pennsylvanians. My administration is reviewing the order and we are assessing the executive branch’s next steps in this process.”

On the other hand, Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee said, “Today’s decision is a victory for democracy and another blow to the Republican Party’s nationwide effort to game the system.”

Political observers suggest that the high court’s ruling will have a great impact on the 2018 midterm elections. They believe that Pennsylvania Democrats will likely have a better chance to win as many as six seats. It will help them regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Earlier this month, a three-judge panel in North Carolina issued a similar ruling on the state’s congressional map. The court ruled that the electoral map was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The North Carolina legislature has until January 24 to develop and pass a new electoral map.