On Monday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state’s Republican drawn congressional districts are unconstitutional and ordered they be redrawn in the next several weeks.
Pennsylvania’s February 9 deadline means that the district lines will be redrawn before the May congressional primary. Democrats are hoping the new map could help the party pick up as many as half a dozen seats in the 2018 elections.
The ruling in Pennsylvania comes less than two weeks after three federal appeals judges ruled that North Carolina’s congressional district map is also unconstitutional, as the map was drawn to give an overwhelming political advantage to Republicans.
North Carolina’s map was supposed to be redrawn by January 24, but the Supreme Court has agreed to pause that timeline, meaning the unconstitutional district lines could still be in effect when the November elections occur.
Pennsylvania and North Carolina are two of the most gerrymandered states in the country. In 2016, Republicans won 10 of the 13 congressional seats in North Carolina despite only winning 53 percent of the popular vote.
The North Carolina and Pennsylvania are not the only states involved in gerrymandering lawsuits. In July 2015, twelve Wisconsin residents filed a lawsuit arguing that the legislative district map that was drawn by Republicans after the 2010 census is unconstitutional and discriminatory towards Democratic candidates and voters. The map was thrown out by a federal court in November 2016, marking the first time a court had taken such an action in response to partisan gerrymandering. The case was heard before the Supreme Court in October and the decision will be announced in June 2018.
News Sources: Washington Post 1/22/18, 1/10/18; CNN 1/101/18; New York Times 1/9/18; Huffington Post 1/9/18; The Time 10/2/17; Feminist Majority Foundation 7/28/17