Pennsylvania’s congressional district map is often considered one of the most gerrymandered in the United States, but is it unconstitutional? And if so, how do you fix it? Those are the central questions the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will weigh when hearing oral arguments on Wednesday in a lawsuit that has the potential to change the state’s political landscape. The case was initiated by 18 voters, all Democrats, and the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. Plaintiffs claim Republican lawmakers, who drew the congressional map, violated their state constitutional rights, and are requesting the court to order the state legislature to draw a new map before the primary elections in May. Each of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional seats are up for grabs in the 2018-midterm elections.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, with a majority of justices elected as Democrats, expedited the case in November. This lifted a stay from a lower court, and ordered a fast-tracked trial in Commonwealth Court to be concluded before the end of 2017.
After hearing a full week of testimony in December, Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin Brobson, elected as a Republican, found that the plaintiffs did not prove the map is unconstitutional.