The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has struck down the state’s congressional redistricting map that was drawn up by the GOP-dominated legislature.
In the Democratic-controlled court’s decision, the majority said the boundaries “clearly, plainly and palpably” violate the state’s constitution and blocked the boundaries from remaining in effect for the 2018 elections with just weeks until dozens of people file paperwork to run for Congress.
The justices gave the Republican-controlled Legislature until Feb. 9 to pass a replacement and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf until Feb. 15 to submit it to the court. Otherwise, the justices said they will adopt a plan in an effort to keep the May 15 primary election on track.
The decision comes amid a national tide of gerrymandering cases, including some that have reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
This is important for a couple of reasons. First, since this was a ruling by the state supreme court, not a federal court, appealing the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court is a lot harder; it wasn’t a federal case to begin with. (That doesn’t mean the Republicans won’t try to make it one, but the odds are against them.) Second, this could mean that the Democrats start reclaiming districts that were weaseled away from them by a rapacious state legislature and what were once safe GOP districts could be up for grabs.