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PA Supreme Court throws out state’s congressional district map, rules it is gerrymandered

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to redo the boundaries of the state’s 18 congressional districts Monday in a major victory to plaintiffs who argued they were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit the GOP.

The Legislature has until Feb. 9 to draw up a new congressional district map, and Gov. Tom Wolf has until Feb. 15 to submit it to the court, the order says.

Otherwise, the court’s order says, the justices will adopt a plan in an attempt to keep Pennsylvania’s primary election on schedule for May 15.

The League of Women voters filed the lawsuit with several other petitioners against the Commonwealth and the General Assembly.

In issuing its order on Monday, the court said the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011, which drew up the current district map, “clearly, plainly and palpably violates the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

“Accordingly,” the court wrote, “its further use in elections for Pennsylvania seats in the United States House of Representatives, commencing with the upcoming May 15, 2018 primary, is hereby enjoined.”

The court’s seven-member panel was split, with the majority supporting the decision to issue the order.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued the following statement after the court’s order was announced:

“I strongly believe that gerrymandering is wrong and consistently have stated that the current maps are unfair to Pennsylvanians. My administration is reviewing the order and we are assessing the executive branch’s next steps in this process.”