The GOP has been getting away with illegally stacking the political deck, but Democrats can claim a win after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the state on Monday to redraw its gerrymandered congressional map, Politico reported.
“This is another victory for fairness and for the American people. Draw fair maps and make this a battle of ideas and not line drawing skills,” former Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted.
Pennsylvania’s map is “clearly, plainly and palpably violates” the state constitution to favor Republican candidates, the state’s high court ruled. The justices ordered lawmakers to create a new map to be submitted to the governor by Feb. 9. This ruling threatens at least one GOP congressional seat and weakens the party in other contests. Since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has the final word on state Constitution matters, this case is unlikely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The nation’s highest court, however, has had a hand in putting the brakes on lower federal court orders to redraw gerrymandered maps. A three-judge panel ordered North Carolina on Jan. 9 to redraw its congressional district map because it unconstitutionally gives Republican candidates an advantage. The court gave lawmakers a Jan. 29 deadline to make corrections. Democrats rejoiced, hoping that the map would be in place for the 2018 midterm elections. However, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the order to have it done in time for the elections.
In another case, Texas Democrats won lower court battles to redraw racially biased congressional maps. A federal appeals court agreed that Texas’ state and congressional maps were drawn to intentionally discriminate against Black and Hispanic residents. Democrats hoped to have a new map in place for the 2018 midterm elections. But on Jan. 12, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take the case and put a hold on the order to redraw. Republicans have gotten away, for years, with using clearly biased maps while legal challenges work their way through the courts. It’s a shame to allow elections to go forward in 2018 with gerrymandered district maps after lower courts have ruled them unconstitutional.