Common Cause Files Brief in Challenge to Outrageous Partisan Political Gerrymander of Pennsylvania Congressional Districts

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  • David Vance

Today, Common Cause filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in support of a challenge to the state’s extreme partisan political gerrymander. Despite a roughly equal split in votes between the parties in each election since the 2011 redistricting, Republicans have consistently won 13 of the state’s 18 congressional seats. If successful, the case could result in the Court ordering the redrawing of the districts before the 2018 election.    

“Pennsylvanians expect and deserve to choose their own representatives to Congress, but politicians have been handpicking their constituents. The Court must end this practice,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “The Court has the opportunity to right this gross injustice and to do in time for the 2018 election so that the Pennsylvania congressional delegation is representative of the population of the Commonwealth.” 

“Every Pennsylvanian is entitled to a voice in Washington through their representatives but for too long, too many have been denied that representation in the nation’s capital,” said Micah C.T. Sims, Executive Director of Common Cause Pennsylvania. “The redistricting guidelines in our state Constitution were completely ignored in the political power grab and we urge the Court to stand up for the millions of Pennsylvanians who have essentially been disenfranchised by the members of the legislature who drew these maps.” 

The Common Cause brief emphasizes that Pennsylvania’s Constitution and state Supreme Court precedent provide clear guidance for the drawing of districts. That standard demands compact and contiguous districts with a minimum of political subdivision splits. In addition, the Pennsylvania Constitution protects the right of citizens to “free and equal elections.” The blatantly partisan gerrymander enacted by the legislature in 2011 ignores those standards.   

Attorneys from the law firm of Dechert LLP worked with Common Cause attorneys on the brief.

To read the Common Cause brief, click here.