Pennsylvania’s Congressional map is easily one of the most egregious partisan gerrymanders of the decade, and subverts basic commitments of Pennsylvania’s constitution, according to an amicus brief filed by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law in Pennsylvania League of Women Voters v. Pennsylvania General Assembly, a case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dealing with what the Center has termed extreme partisan gerrymandering.
The map was created by the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania General Assembly in the 2010 redistricting, when it carefully manipulated Congressional district lines to lock in an enduring advantage for the Republican party through good and bad election cycles alike.
“Pennsylvania’s map – in a major swing state no less – is among the most extreme gerrymanders in the country,” said Michael Li, senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “Pennsylvania is a case study in the drastic lengths politicians can go to ensure they are picking their voters, instead of the other way around. The result is a map that is deeply unrepresentative. It is vital that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court step in and impose clear limits that will constrain the type of undemocratic abuses we’ve seen this decade in Pennsylvania. Failure to do so would have severe consequences, as partisan gerrymandering grows ever more sophisticated, durable, and extreme.”
Ahead of the 2020 round of redistricting, the U.S. Supreme Court is also taking a close look at the legality of extreme partisan gerrymandering. In October, it heard oral argument in Gill v. Whitford, a case dealing with the constitutionality of Wisconsin’s state legislative maps, and last month it announced it would take up a case related to Maryland’s congressional maps.
Read the Brennan Center’s full amicus brief in Pennsylvania League of Women Voters v. Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Read more about the Brennan Center’s work on Redistricting.
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