Court Rulings End GOP Efforts to Block Voting Map for Pennsylvania

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Under the map that was tossed out earlier this year by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, only five of the state's 18 congressional districts are represented by Democrats - despite the fact that registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the swing state.

An expert in redistricting and election law, Persily has drawn districts for Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, New York, and North Carolina, and was selected by the state Supreme Court to draw the map after Governor Tom Wolf (D) rejected the Republican House's proposal in February.

Republican legislators have already challenged the map in both federal and district courts. "But frustration, even frustration emanating from arduous time constraints placed on the legislative process, does not accord the Plaintiffs a right to relief". The Supreme Court is considering cases from Wisconsin and Maryland that could put nationwide limits on lawmakers' ability to draw maps for partisan advantage.

The judges also seemed to be debating whether they should intervene at all, given the similar challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court. It's more bad news for Republicans.

Republicans have another appeal of the decision now pending at the United States Supreme Court. Since the old map's implementation in 2011, Republicans have won 13 out of Pennsylvania's 18 districts, despite never gaining more than 55 percent of the vote.

This doesn't guarantee a win for the state's Democratic party in these new districts, of course.

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Today's Supreme Court Ruling was a victory for Pennsylvania voters who will now be able to cast ballots for congressional candidates in districts not unconstitutionally manipulated to make them uncompetitive. Top leaders in the state House and Senate, without taking a vote in their chambers, submitted one map to Wolf, which he rejected.

The broader point here is two-fold: 1) This is a major win for Democrats hoping to retake the House majority this November and 2) If the Court ultimately decides that extreme partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional, it will have a profound effect on how maps gets drawn - and who controls the House majority - in 2021 and beyond. "These are things that, on the present record, we can not do".

The state Supreme Court then imposed a new map that many outside experts said still gave Republicans an edge but created more competitive districts and some more districts that are expected to favor Democrats.

"The Plaintiffs are neither the Pennsylvania General Assembly nor a group to which Pennsylvania has delegated the Commonwealth's lawmaking power", the judges wrote.

The Supreme Court announced, "the application for stay presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied".