We are a team of lawyers, mathematicians and Pennsylvania voters seeking to use Pennsylvania Constitutional law to declare unconstitutional the current boundaries of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts as a result of partisan gerrymandering. Unlike other anti-gerrymandering lawsuits, we are asking the Court to define a neutral set of rules that will make it difficult or impossible for any party or entity to gerrymander U.S. congressional districts.
Our case would ask the Court to declare the current congressional map unlawful under Article I, Sections 1, 2, 3, 20, 25 and 26 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The congressional map is a result of a system of drawing congressional voting districts in a manner that intentionally favors a minority of Republican citizens over and above the wishes, views, thoughts, and desires of a majority of Democratic citizens of the Commonwealth. This problem is compounded by a lax interpretation of rules for drawing Pennsylvania state Senate and House districts in a manner that will ensure a Republican majority in the state House and Senate for the indefinite future.
Our goal is to help create a set of rules for drawing legislative districts in a fair and non-partisan manner, rooted in Pennsylvania Constitutional law.
Ending congressional gerrymandering and restoring fair and democratic rules for redistricting can be accomplished by borrowing principles from Article 2, Section16 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and limiting the drawing of congressional district lines to the following rules:
a. Districts must be contiguous;
b. Districts must be equal in size of population to the extent “practicable,” meaning a degree of numerical equality that will not invite or permit gerrymandering by splitting political subdivisions except where absolutely necessary;
c. Unless absolutely necessary, no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward shall be divided in forming any congressional district; and
d. Districts shall be reasonably compact.
This suit seeks to require that each of these rules is honored and applied neutrally and fairly. Specifically, by refusing to allow gerrymanderers to divide intact counties (except in specific instances, as will be explained to the Court), cities, towns, townships, boroughs and wards, the manipulation of voting district lines for partisan political gain will be made nearly impossible.
We will also ask the Courts to apply the efficiency gap analysis as a final check on the competitiveness of the resulting districts.
This case will be crucial in advancing a solution for drawing congressional districts that has not been presented anywhere in the country and is devised to end the practice of gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, and possibly elsewhere. Our suit will end this threat to our democracy!
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We're blazing the trail for many states with similar constitutional provisions. Gerrymandered districts in Pennsylvania affect the entire country.
CCFD is a Pennsylvania Non-Profit Association.
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