Pennsylvania Supreme Court Confirms: State's Congressional Map Is Illegal Partisan Gerrymander

January 22, 2018

Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state’s congressional map is an illegal partisan gerrymander, and must be re-drawn by February 9, ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, which filed an amicus brief in the case, issued a recent report, Extreme Maps, that identified Pennsylvania’s congressional map as easily one of the most egregious partisan gerrymanders of the decade.

The map, created by the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania General Assembly in the 2011 redistricting and signed into law by then Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, carefully manipulated congressional district lines to lock in an enduring 13-5 advantage for the Republican party in a state that is otherwise a perennial electoral battleground.

“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling is a huge, historic win against extreme gerrymandering,” said Michael Li, senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “While the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on the issue soon, the Pennsylvania decision shows that there is a second powerful avenue in state courts for voters fed up with gerrymandering.”

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 Wisconsin, Maryland, and North Carolina. Today’s decision is historic – the first win against partisan gerrymandering in a state, rather than federal court. Pennsylvania’s Senate President Pro Tempore has stated legislative leaders are likely to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read the Brennan Center’s amicus brief in Pennsylvania League of Women Voters v. Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Read more about the Brennan Center’s work on Redistricting.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Naren Daniel at (646) 292-8381 or