CASE SUMMARY

On February 17, 2022 the Majority Leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court challenging the 2021 Legislative Reapportionment Commission's adopted state House and state Senate redistricting plans as violating several different provisions of the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitution. First, the petitioner alleged the adopted plan contained an excessive number of political subdivision splits in violation of article II, § 16 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and that many of those splits were for the purpose of diluting Republican voting strength in violation of Pennsylvania's Free and Equal Elections Clause. Petitioner also cited the adopted plan's excessive pairing of Republican incumbents as further support for the adopted plan being drawn for unfair partisan gain. Next, petitioner asserted the adopted plan, with a total population deviation of 8.65% for the House and 8.11% for the Senate, violated the one person, one vote constitutional standard under article II, § 16 because those high deviations resulted from an intent to secure an unfair partisan gain. He also claimed the Commission lacked the authority, in the absence of legislative action, under article II, § 17 to adopt a practice for reallocating incarcerated persons to their prior home addresses for the purposes of legislative redistricting. Third, he alleged the adopted plans were racial gerrymanders in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the federal Voting Rights Act, and article I, § 29 of the Pennsylvania Constitution because many House districts were drawn with race as the predominant consideration and such use of race was not supported by racial voting analyses or evidence to show it was necessary. He also pointed to several different areas in the state where the adopted plan failed to improve upon minority voting rights as support for this claim. Petitioner sought a judicial declaration that the adopted plans violated the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions, an order remanding the plan back to the Commission with directions to correct the issues identified in the petition, and for the court to order the use of the 2010-cycle legislative redistricting plans for the 2022 elections in the event the Commission failed to timely adopt new plans.

On March 16, 2022 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order upholding the adopted legislative plan as constitutional and dismissing all of the challenging petitions against it. On June 1, 2022, the Majority Leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives filed an application with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking an extension of time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari regarding the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision. The Court granted this application on June 8, extending the time to file until July 14. The Majority Leader filed his full petition for writ of certiorari on July 14.

CASE LIBRARY

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Middle District - No. 11 MM 2022

U.S. Supreme Court - No. 22-47 [Formerly No. 21A798, Stay Application]