On March 19, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request from Pennsylvania’s legislative leaders to block the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s order adopting a fair congressional map for the 2018 primary and general elections. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito referred the request to the full Court before it was denied.
“The highest court in the nation recognized that this lawsuit was properly brought and decided as a state constitutional challenge and could not be undone by federal courts because the legislators were unhappy with the outcome,” said Mimi McKenzie, Legal Director at the Public Interest Law Center. “This is an historic victory for Pennsylvania voters and democracy.”
The Law Center along with Arnold & Porter successfully challenged Pennsylvania’s 2011 congressional map in state court as a partisan gerrymander in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Meanwhile, a related federal case brought by other Pennsylvania Republicans challenging the state high court’s remedial map, Corman et al. v. Torres et al., was also dismissed today. The three-judge panel in Harrisburg ruled that the plaintiffs were not proper parties to object.
“Today’s twin decisions mark the end of the road. Challenges to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision have failed, and the state court’s remedial map is final,” said R. Stanton Jones of Arnold & Porter. “We brought this case so Pennsylvania voters could have the chance to cast their ballots in fair elections for the U.S. House of Representatives. And so they shall.”
“Twelve federal judges have now considered and rejected the defendants’ attempts to reinstate the unconstitutional, gerrymandered congressional map – nine Justices of the United States Supreme Court and three judges from the lower federal courts,” said Elisabeth Theodore of Arnold & Porter. “The defendants’ claims got nowhere because they have lacked merit from the start. The federal courts rightly refused to permit this end-run around Pennsylvania’s constitution, and we are thrilled that Pennsylvania’s voters will have a fair map in 2018.”
“The legislative leaders and their deputies have hit a dead end in their brazen attempts to impede the 2018 elections. For the sake of Pennsylvania’s voters and taxpayers, they should accept reality instead of throwing more money at litigation,” said Ben Geffen of the Public Interest Law Center.
“The 2011 map – and the Pennsylvania GOP leadership’s desperate efforts to cling to it – reflects why voters have become so cynical about politics today. All the original lawsuit ever sought was a fair shot for all voters – for the system not to be rigged – and these elected officials fought it kicking and screaming every step of the way. We hope and expect that today’s decisions will be an important step in giving voters’ back their voice and restoring their faith in our democracy.”
Access all case documents here: https://www.pubintlaw.org/cases-and-projects/pennsylvania-redistricting-lawsuit-case-documents/
Access U.S. Supreme Court order here: https://www.pubintlaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/2018-03-19-Turzai-League-of-Women-Voters-Order.pdf