what Challenges do we face?

Gerrymandering: Still a Threat

QUESTION

Why does it matter which party controls the Pennsylvania Supreme Court? What is the relationship between the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the make-up of the U.S. House of Representatives?

 

ANSWER

Gerrymandering has played a major role in establishing and maintaining Republican control of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Congressional delegation. Despite an 800,000+ Democratic voter registration, Republicans control 11 of 18 seats. 

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court holds the balance of political power in determining the shape of congressional districts.

 

HERE'S HOW RE-DISTRICTING WORKS IN PENNSYLVANIA

Congressional re-districting is overseen in Pennsylvania by a five-member committee. The committee is determined by the Majority and Minority leaders of the PA House and Senate plus the Chief Justice of the PA Supreme Court. The House and Senate members breakdown by party with two members each. The fifth and deciding vote is determined by the party that controls the PA Supreme Court.

 

DEMOCRATIC CONTROL AND THE NEW MAPS

In 2017, Democrats gained majority control of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In 2018, the Democratic court majority ruled that the current re-districting was unfair and unconstitutional. The court eventually created its own map. It is that map that established the 2018 U.S. congressional battlefield in Pennsylvania and the current opportunities to flip districts and take back the House. 

The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania state legislature has proposed establishing the make-up of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by geographic district, a move that would likely result in Republicans re-gaining control of the court and newly gerrymandered maps in 2021. 

Re-districting takes place every ten years based upon the decennial census. The next re-districting will take place in 2021. Democratic control will be critical.

 

THE GAME IS NEVER OVER.