Health Care

Pennsylvania's US House district borders challenged in court

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and individual voters announced a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's 2011 Congressional District Map, calling it an Unconstitutional Partisan Gerrymander. According to the suit filed in the State Commonwealth Court, the League of Women Voters and 18 individuals represented one of the state's 18 congressional districts and asked the court to strike down PA's current congressional map, and order a new one before the next election.

Several studies have ranked Pennsylvania as one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. But Republicans secured 13 of the 18 congressional seats.Republicans kept that 72 percent share of the seats in 2014 and 2016, even though they only won 55 percent and 54 percent of statewide votes, respectively."The 2011 map was meticulously drawn to perpetuate a lopsided Republican majority in Pennsylvania's congressional delegation regardless of normal swings in voter preference", said David Gersch, senior counsel with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, who is representing some of the voters in the case.

The map drew heavy criticism from Democrats when it was unveiled for the ways in which it contorted districts, and moved whole counties and cities from one district to another that Democrats said made other districts more Republican friendly.

"These folks are running around, saying this district looks a little squiggly, therefore, it's gerrymandered".

Some of the districts created in 2011, particularly the 7th district in the eastern part of the state and the 12th district around Pittsburgh, have drawn national scrutiny.

Congressional maps in Maryland, North Carolina and Texas are also the subject of gerrymandering lawsuits.

Defendants include many top state officials, including Republicans and Democrats, and none offered immediate comment on the lawsuit.

And the lawsuit called the map they drew after the 2010 Census "overwhelmingly successful" for the GOP. Some Republicans acknowledged at the time that the map was drawn to ensure the re-election of incumbents through the creation of politically safe districts while producing another Republican-held seat.

Democrats never sued, and some Democratic lawmakers even voted to approve the map. Republicans now hold 13 of the state's 18 U.S. House seats.

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