U.S. Supreme Court Denies Stay of Order to Redraw Pennsylvania Congressional Districts in Victory for Fair Maps
- David Vance
Statements of Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President & Micah C.T. Sims, Executive Director of Common Cause PA
Today the United State Supreme Court denied the request in League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania vs Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a stay of an order by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, that the legislature redraw congressional district lines because they violated the state constitution. The Public Interest Law Center litigated the case and Common Cause Pennsylvania assisted in the recruitment of individual plaintiffs.
“This decision is a victory for the voters of Pennsylvania who would have been required to vote in a fourth election under an illegal partisan gerrymander had the Court sided with the defendants,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rightly decided that the Pennsylvania Constitution protects its citizens from voting in congressional districts that legislators manipulated for political advantage after the 2010 redistricting cycle. By leaving that decision alone, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the fundamental right of Pennsylvanians to fair representation – something they have been denied since this gerrymandered map was put in place.”
“We can now move forward with restoring the confidence to voters that for the first time this decade votes cast will be in constitutional and not gerrymandered districts,” said Micah Sims, Executive Director of Common Cause Pennsylvania. “Over the last few days I heard testimonies in town hall meetings, read in emails sent to me, and heard on phone calls with residents that they want to fairly choose their congressional representatives. Justice swept through the commonwealth of Pennsylvania impacting residents from Erie to Philadelphia, York to State College, Scranton to Aliquippa, and everywhere in between. Democracy has been preserved and the march continues towards votes having meaning and Pennsylvanians having a voice and representation in Washington.”
The next step requires the legislature to produce newly drawn maps by February 9th and receive an approval from Governor Tom Wolf by February 15th. If neither perform their duty and complete the task, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania will produce a map by February 19th and allow voters to elect candidates based upon those during the 2018 election cycle.
To see Common Cause’s alternative maps, read Common Cause’s amicus brief in League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and to learn more, click here.