Pennsylvania court upholds gerrymandering charge

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Monday that the gerrymandering of the state's current congressional map violated the Pennsylvania Constitution.

The state's highest appellate court, in a split decision, ordered the Legislature to submit new maps of the 18 districts by February 9. The court also ordered the legislature to redraw the districts and have them approved by the governor before February 15, ahead of the May primaries. Otherwise, the justices said they will adopt a plan in an effort to keep the May 15 primary election on track. In a conference call with reporters, McKenzie referred to the map as "one of the worst gerrymanders in American history". Because Democrats tend to live clustered together in cities, while Republicans tend to be more spread out across suburbs and rural areas, a requirement to draw compact maps that incorporate county and municipal boundaries will tend to favor Republicans.

The case split the Pennsylvania Supreme Court largely along partisan lines.

"It shows there may be a second front in the war against gerrymandering that does not depend on what the U.S. Supreme Court does or does not do in the Wisconsin and Maryland cases", Li said.

After oral arguments last week, Drew Crompton, a lawyer for Scarnati, strongly hinted that Republicans would appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if the Pennsylvania high court struck down the congressional map.

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The state Supreme Court has a 5-2 Democratic majority.

First, the Court finds as a matter of law that the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011 clearly, plainly and palpably violates the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and, on that sole basis, we hereby strike it as unconstitutional. The two dissenters are Republicans.

The court decision is a victory for anti-gerrymandering activists - who argued that Pennsylvania's congressional map gave an unfair partisan advantage to the state's Republican Party.

Unaffected by the order is the March 13th special election in Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district between Republican State Sen.

Republicans who controlled the Legislature and senator's office following the 2010 registration broke many years of topographical point of reference while redrawing the guide, delivering bended shapes, including one named "Ridiculous kicking Donald Duck".

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