After federal judges rejected their contention that Pennsylvania’s congressional map was the product of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering, plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit have filed a direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 2-1 decision last week, a panel of federal judges sided with Republican lawmakers who drew Pennsylvania’s map in 2011. D. Brooks Smith, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, said that reform “must come from the political process itself, not the courts.”
“We are excited at the prospect that the Supreme Court could hear our appeal during the present 2017-18 term as the justices look again at the role of the courts in protecting our democracy.” Alice Ballard, the lawyer for the Agre v. Wolf plaintiffs who filed the appeal, said in a statement,
The appeal was filed Thursday, but it was not clear when the high court might act.
If the Supreme Court justices want to hear oral argument, “the appeal wouldn’t be fully briefed in time for it to be heard this term,” Michael Li, a redistricting expert at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University wrote on Twitter.