State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

PA judge says congressional maps aren't unconstitutional

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Dec 29, 2017 7:34 PM

Lawyers for the Democratic voters who are suing the state cite nonsensically-shaped districts in their argument that Pennsylvania's congressional maps should be declared unconstitutional. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)


(Harrisburg) -- A group of Democratic voters who want to get Pennsylvania's congressional maps declared unconstitutional have not proven their case, according to a Commonwealth Court judge.

The plaintiffs say the 2011 map is one of the worst gerrymanders in the country, and brought experts into court to try to quantify this outlier status.

They focused on the convoluted shapes of several Pennsylvania districts, and argued Republicans have won more seats than they should, given their statewide support.

In his opinion, Judge Kevin Brobson, a Republican, said the challengers were successful in showing the congressional map favors Republicans, and that Republican creators drew it with some partisan goals in mind.

But ultimately, he said the plaintiffs didn't sufficiently prove the map "crosses the line between permissible partisan considerations and unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering under the Pennsylvania Constitution."

The Supreme Court has the case on a fast-track, and will hear oral arguments starting January 17th.

A federal court in Philadelphia is also in the process of deciding a second case on Pennsylvania's congressional maps. A decision is expected any day.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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