On December 31, 2021, Common Cause PA’s Executive Director Khalif Ali joined plaintiffs from across the state in filing an Application to Intervene in the ongoing congressional redistricting litigation currently before the Commonwealth Court. Plaintiffs are represented by the Public Interest Law Center and Dechert, LLP. The litigation generally calls on the Court to take over the congressional mapmaking process if the General Assembly and Pennsylvania Governor are unable to agree on a map. Additionally, Khalif and the other plaintiffs will argue that the court should ensure that any map follows the redistricting criteria laid out in League of Women Voters of PA v. Commonwealth including protecting communities of interest, that partisan considerations including attempts to benefit any incumbent or candidate should not overtake the LWVPA criteria, and that the Court should use data that is adjusted to count incarcerated individuals in their homes, not their cells.
Although the Court denied our request to intervene, we were able to participate as amicus and submitted a community-driven map that used adjusted data. You can see the map and brief here.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania took jurisdiction over the case and required Judge McCullough of the Commonwealth Court to issue a report by February 7. Judge McCullough’s report (read it here) recommended that the Supreme Court adopt the Republican Caucuses map (HB 2146), which was passed on a party line vote through both chambers, but vetoed by Governor Wolf.
The Supreme Court permitted all parties and amici to submit briefs and exceptions to Judge McCullough’s report. You can read ours here. We argue that Judge McCullough made several mistakes, including giving unwarranted deference to the Pennsylvania legislature, prioritizing some splits while ignoring others, and failing to acknowledge the importance of counting incarcerated people at their homes not their cells.
On February 18, we’ll have our chance to make our case at oral argument in front of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.