Supreme Court Clears Way for Pennsylvania to Draw New Congressional Map

This is a big win for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

Protesters for fair elections gathered outside the US Supreme Court as the court heard arguments about partisan gerrymandering on October 3.Jeff Malet/Newscom via ZUMA Press

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The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to wade into a battle over Pennsylvania’s Republican-friendly congressional map, clearing the way for a new map to be drawn in time for the 2018 midterm elections. The court’s decision is a big win for Democrats, who hope that a fairer map will help the party retake the House of Representatives in November.

Last month, the Pennsylvania state supreme court ruled that the state’s congressional map, one of the most gerrymandered in the country, violated the state constitution, and it ordered a new map in time for the midterm elections. Top Republicans in the state legislature tried to fight that ruling by asking the Supreme Court to overturn it—a longshot appeal because the ruling concerned state law.

Republicans won 13 of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional seats in November 2016, even though voters statewide were roughly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

Republicans in Pennsylvania have also tried to get the state supreme court to toss its 5-2 decision by alleging that one of the Democratic justices should have recused himself over comments he made opposing gerrymandering in 2015. This effort is also unlikely to succeed. As Mother Jones reported, one of the Republican justices who dissented in the gerrymandering case received a $25,000 campaign donation from Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, one of the Republican defendants in the case. The justice, Sallie Mundy, did not disclose the donation during the case, although it was reported in campaign finance filings. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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