Pa. Supreme Court Throws Out GOP Redistricting Maps
The proposed redistricting maps approved in December of last year were deemed "contrary to law" in a tight vote by the high court today
According to The Associated Press, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined in a 4-3 vote on Wednesday that the redistricting maps proposed by the GOP and approved by the legislature in December are "contrary to law" and need to be redrawn.
"The Republicans have proposed a map far more partisan and gerrymandered than anyone would have guessed," Jim Burn, Pennsylvania Democratic Chairman, said of the map in December. "We knew that the Republicans would use their control of the process to draw a map that benefited Republicans, but we did not expect them to abuse their power to this degree, all while shutting out the public."
The Supreme Court decision means that Pennsylvania's current district lines remain intact while the redistricting plan is sent back to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission to be reworked.
“This is uncharted territory, and at this point the court has not provided the information needed for the Legislative Reapportionment Commission to fully understand how to proceed," said Majority Leader, State Sen. Dominic Pileggi in a statement. "As a member of the Commission, I will do everything in my power to ensure that a redistricting plan for the General Assembly is enacted as promptly as possible when the court releases its opinion.”
“We are thankful that the Court and the many petitioners understood the concerns of the voters who took the time and effort to express their concerns to both the Commission and ultimately the Court," said Minority Leader, State Sen. Jay Costa in a statement. "The Pennsylvania Supreme Court acted with respect for the Constitution, communities across our commonwealth, and the voters. We await the state Supreme Court’s direction regarding drafting a new reapportionment plan for the commonwealth.”
Republican leaders are expected to criticize the decision.
On the campaign front, the ruling threw a wrench into many candidates plans for their General Assembly races.
According to PoliticsPA, the new campaign deadlines are as follows:
- Jan. 26: First day to circulate nominating petitions
- Feb. 16: Last day to circulate nominating petitions
- Feb. 23: Last day to submit objections
- Feb. 27: Last day for hearings on objections
- March 2: Last day to withdraw candidacy and last day for courts to make rulings on ballot eligibility.
Read more about the high court's ruling and it's effects on upcoming campaigns here.