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.

Ohio lawyers find PA "instructive" in quest to overturn congressional map

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | May 29, 2018 6:39 AM
remedial plan image.jpg

Pennsylvania's congressional map was redrawn by the state Supreme Court earlier this year. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- Activists in other states are looking to Pennsylvania's redistricting case as they attempt to get their own congressional districts overturned.

In particular, lawyers involved in an Ohio case say their situation has a lot in common with the one in the commonwealth.

The Ohio lawsuit differs from Pennsylvania's in that it's a federal matter, not a state one.

But attorney Freda Levenson, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, said a lot of the principles underlying the situations are the same--and that means the successful PA suit is a learning opportunity.

"We as the lawyers are looking at the submissions because it's very instructive," she said. "There were wonderful experts who did a lot of work, and of course reading the courts' language is instructive as well."

Levenson said the plaintiffs are arguing their GOP drawn maps violate federal standards of compactness and contiguity, and have led to Democrats consistently holding only four of 16 congressional seats, even though roughly half Ohio voters lean Democratic.

Pennsylvania had a similar partisan breakdown under its old map, with Democrats repeatedly winning only five of 18 seats.

"Pennsylvania was carved up into all these very strange districts with very peculiar shapes," Levenson said. "Ohio is too. Ohio's current map looks like Pennsylvania's old map."

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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