The State Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday in a case that could change the way Pennsylvania’s congressional map is drawn.
Some call that map one of the most gerrymandered in the country, and depending on how the State Supreme Court votes, that map may have to be re-drawn. That might happen even before this year’s elections.
The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, along with 18 voters have brought forward the case that Pennsylvania’s congressional map, drawn by Republicans in 2011, discriminates against Democratic voters. “The state legislature carefully manipulated the 2011 map to mute the voices of Democratic voters,” said Mimi McKenzie, Legal Director at the Public Interest Law Center.
Arguing before the State Supreme Court, attorneys made the case that Republicans have won 13 of 18 congressional seats for three straight elections, despite only winning about half of the statewide vote. Tom Rentschler lives in the 6th congressional district, and spoke at today’s rally. “That permanent situation in congress has rendered my vote and the vote of many people in Pennsylvania irrelevant,” said Rentschler.
David Gersch, represents the petitioners, and he calls it the “worst map in Pennsylvania history” and “a case of intentional discrimination.” Drew Crompton is counsel to senate Republicans, his side argued Democrats are not being shut out of the political process. If the Supreme Court, which has a 5-2 Democratic majority does vote to change the map, those bringing the case argue the maps can be redone in 2 to 3 weeks. “It takes 102 reps and 26 senators and a Governor to sign it. No matter when you do it, and that political back and forth takes time. I think two weeks is wholly unreasonable,” said Crompton.
Depending on what the Supreme Court decides, a redrawing of the map could have a direct effect on this year’s midterm elections.