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

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

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. 

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate