Democrats, who hold only five of the state's 18 congressional districts despite Pennsylvania being a closely divided electoral swing state, are hoping to regain control of the House in the November mid-term elections.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday struck down the limits of the state's 18 congressional locale, saying they disregard the state constitution and conceding a noteworthy triumph to a gathering of Democratic voters who contended the regions were illegally gerrymandered to profit Republicans.
Wolf, for his part, applauded the decision and said he would cooperate to expedite the new maps.
State legislators are being given an opportunity to redraw the map, subject to the governor's approval, and file it with the court by February 15. Because Democrats tend to live clustered together in cities, while Republicans tend to be more spread out across suburbs and rural areas, a requirement to draw compact maps that incorporate county and municipal boundaries will tend to favor Republicans.
The case names Republican legislative leaders as defendants because the GOP controlled the General Assembly, and thus redistricting, the last two times maps were drawn.
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But the state's Republican-dominated legislature, which approved the current district map in 2011, has already said it would seek to overturn such a decision in federal court. That puts Pennsylvania among the ranks of the most gerrymandered states in the country. Republicans now hold 12 of Pennsylvania's 18 seats.
"It's well established that the United States Supreme Court does not review decisions of state force that exclusively construe state law", attorney Stanton Jones said.
Crompton said the timeline, as laid out by the state Supreme Court, was unrealistic given the Legislature's process for approving new maps. Should the parties fail to reach an agreement on the plan, the justices said the court would move quickly on its own to develop a constitutional congressional map. The courts keep seeing through these efforts to turn the states into one-party fiefdoms that result in minority rule at both the state and federal levels. The court said in its order that that race will proceed under the old congressional map.
One Democratic justice, Max Baer, agreed with the court majority that the map is illegal but said he would have delayed a new map until the 2020 election cycle to avoid "chaos".