US Supreme Court won't hear Pa. case

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with employees including Patrick Hong from Vancouver as he leaves the offices of Salesforce on Thursday Feb. 8 2018 in San Francisco

In a full majority opinion released Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that the state's congressional district map deprives voters' of their right to "free and equal" elections as protected by the Pennsylvania Constitution.

"Hopefully, the (US) Supreme Court would either say partisan gerrymanders are OK, or provide some clear guidance when they are not OK so we can redraw these maps and not be doing this fight all the time", Ellis said.

The legislative maps that Persily drew at a federal court's order aimed to correct some of the racial discrepancies, which would have the effect of giving Democrats a boost in this year's election.

That is noteworthy because efforts to combat gerrymandering using political science and statistical analysis have met resistance in the federal courts, Mathews said. The spokesman says all options are being discussed.

He said it would be "very difficult" to pass legislation with new maps by Friday - the court-imposed deadline for doing so.

That case is scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court later this year, and the outcome is expected to be noteworthy as the court has never before weighed in on the issue of gerrymandering challenged on purely political grounds.

"This was always a Pennsylvania state court case about Pennsylvania's Constitution, and the U.S. Supreme Court rightly refused the Republican Legislative leaders' attempt to manufacture a federal issue", said R. Stanton Jones, a partner at Arnold & Porter, the law firm that argued the case for the League of Women Voters. Supreme Court decision came down Tuesday, Democrats filed another suit in state court Wednesday.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waits to speak at the App Direct office in San Francisco Thursday Feb. 8 2018. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brings what some call his “maple charm offensive” to San Francisco on Thursday with a dual
NC Voters Seek Emergency Relief after High Court Gerrymander Order

"I think there are legitimate federal questions", he said. The districts that can't be used are the ones that involve questions of state law. The current map, drawn by the PA GOP majority in 2011, has been a subject of national ridicule for districts that were drawn in a way to clearly favor Republican candidates. "The court looked at the history of the free and equal elections clause... and said this clause means more than just being able to go to the polls".

The level of potential confusion in a condensed process like the state is now moving through is going to be even greater than in a normal redistricting process that happens once a decade, he said. A common complaint there was that the disputed congressional and legislative Republicans drew to benefit Republicans mean that the sitting legislature is effectively illegitimate, as the members are drawn from unconstitutional districts.

"With regard to individuals living in "packed" Democratic districts under the Plan, the weight of their votes has been "substantially diluted, ' and their votes have no 'impact on election outcomes, ' the court wrote, summarizing the plaintiffs" argument".

Justices Christine Donohue, Kevin M. Dougherty, and David N. Wecht joined the opinion. The first algorithm used traditional districting criteria only: population equality; contiguity; compactness; absence of splits within municipalities, unless necessary; and absence of splits within counties, unless necessary.

"... I am troubled by the Majority's decision to strike down the 2011 congressional map on the eve of the 2018 midterm election".

Those political factors, like protecting incumbents, have always been part of the redistricting process, no matter which party is in control, Dimino said. Chief Justice Thomas Saylor and Justice Sallie Mundy - the only Republicans - filed separate dissents.

In the opinion, Todd notes that in recent years, there's been a vast disparity between the statewide voting in congressional races and the party breakdown of the state's congressional delegation. In 2016, Democrats won each of their five House seats with an average of 75 percent of the vote, while Republicans' margin of victory was an average of 62 percent across their 13 districts.

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