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UPDATE

Big Win in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court!

  • On January 22nd, the PA Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the League of Women Voters gerrymandering case, holding that the state’s congressional map “clearly, plainly, and palpably” violates the state constitution and blocking its use in the May primaries.

  • The Court ordered the Legislature to propose a new map for the Governor's review and, if the Governor doesn't accept the map, the Court will impose a map of its own design, using traditional, non-partisan principals of redistricting.

  • The legislative defendants have filed an emergency appeal with the US Supreme Court to stay the PA high court's ruling. Most commentators doubt that the US Supreme Court will intervene in this state constitutional matter.

  • CCFD has developed a neutral mapping solution that we believe satisfies the PA Court's requirements. We have shared our solution with the Legislature and the Governor's office and hope to get it before the Court should the Court pursue its own plan. 

We are actively engaged in Agre v. Wolf

  •  We are actively supporting the Agre v. Wolf case filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in October. The Agre case represents a fresh look at the federal Elections Clause in the U.S. Constitution, and argues that the Constitutional language does not grant authority to state legislatures to manipulate Congressional districts for partisan advantage. CCFD is providing expert witness, legal and financial support to this important case.    
  • The Agre is now on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. In contrast to the recent gerrymandering case in North Carolina, in which the Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs based on similar facts and legal theories, in Agre, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled two to one against the plaintiffs.     
  • We expect the U.S. Supreme Court to accept the appeal and possibly consolidate Agre with the North Carolina, Wisconsin and Maryland gerrymandering cases.     
  • Want to know more?  The Brennan Center for Justice maintains an excellent summary and update of all pending gerrymandering litigation. The site includes links to all of the opinions in Agre and the other redistricting cases.  www.brennancenter.org/blog/state-redistricting-litigation   Read Agre’s October 31, 2017 Brief in opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. It’s a great and understandable explanation of Agre’s arguments under the Elections Clause and other provisions of the U.S. Constitution.   

CCFD's Proposed Non-Partisan Redistricting Solution

  • Concerned Citizens for Democracy has successfully devised a nonpartisan set of principles for redistricting congressional and other legislative seats that creates a workable standard for any court in any state with any number of districts.

  • The principles are based on (1) the traditional districting standards of contiguity, equal population, compactness and no unnecessary division of counties and other political subdivisions, and (2) additional rules that geographically and geometrically detect and limit partisan gerrymandering.

  •  The rules will allow courts to detect partisan gerrymandering by comparing proposed maps with underlying voter performance data. Moreover, the rules provide the courts with a workable neutral remedy to require legislatures to redraw maps in a nonpartisan manner.

  • These guidelines, based on the PA Constitution and the 1972 PA Congressional Map, were offered into evidence in the Agre case and will be presented on appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

  • The rules will likely result in a congressional map with an equal number of heavily Republican and heavily Democratic districts, an equal number of Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning districts, and an equal number of competitive districts.

  • See CCFD's proposed redistricting maps below!

WE'RE SUING TO RESTORE DEMOCRACY IN PENNSYLVANIA

Our Lawsuit(s)

(Editor's Note: This is where we started, mid-2017. Some of the following is out of date, but it's good background)


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.  

Specifics

  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!  

Help Make It Happen & Spread the News

Please give what you can - even if you don't live in Pennsylvania. Every dollar helps and no donation is too small.  Your contributions will directly fund our ongoing litigation to  end gerrymandering. Help Today!

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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