The federal trial over Pennsylvania’s congressional district map wrapped up in a Philadelphia courtroom on Thursday with a string of stirring closing arguments before a three-judge panel. During four days of deliberations, a group of more than 20 Pennsylvania voters challenged the way Republican lawmakers drew the state’s congressional districts in 2011, asserting a gerrymandering scheme that violates the U.S. Constitution. If the voters are successful, they could trigger a new congressional map impacting the 2018 midterm elections when all 18 of Pennsylvania’s seats in the U.S. House of Representative could be contested.
First up in closing arguments was defense attorney Jason Torchinsky, who represents House Speaker Michael Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).
Overall, Torchinsky said the plaintiffs fell short in proving their claim, and disputed the notion that voters had been caused harm as a result of the map.
Although he admitted that partisan data — such as election results and voter registration information — was a factor in the creation of the map, he said the depositions of two key legislative staffers read on Wednesday showed it was not its driving force.