CASE SUMMARY

On December 17, 2021, a group of registered voters filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Secretary of State and Director for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Election Services and Notaries, challenging the state's current congressional districts as unconstitutional. The plaintiffs allege that due to population shifts over the last decade, the state's congressional districts have become unconstitutionally malapportioned in violation of the one person, one vote constitutional requirement. Furthermore, plaintiffs assert that the defendants have had months to enact a new congressional plan and have failed to do so, thereby requiring the court's intervention to ensure a properly apportioned plan is in place in time for the 2022 primary election. The plaintiffs are seeking a declaratory judgment that Pennsylvania's current congressional district plan violates the Free and Equal Elections Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution, Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, and 2 U.S.C. Section 2(c),and an injunction barring the defendants from using the current plan in any future elections. They also are requesting that the court implement a new congressional district plan that complies with one person, one vote.

On December 20, 2021, the court issued an order consolidating this case with another challenge to Pennsylvania's congressional districts, Gressman v. DeGraffenreid. On December 21, 2021, the plaintiffs filed an Application for Extraordinary Relief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, seeking to have that Court assume extraordinary jurisdiction over the case. Plaintiffs argue that the Commonwealth Court's December 20, 2021, scheduling order for the case would leave no time left for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to review its final decision prior to the 2022 primary election, and given these time constraints and the public importance of the lawsuit, the Supreme Court should take over handling the case immediately. On January 10, 2022, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the application.

On January 14, 2022, the Commonwealth Court issued an order establishing a January 24, 2022, deadline for the parties to submit proposed redistricting plans for the court's consideration. In that order, the court further provided that if the General Assembly failed to enact a congressional plan by January 30, 2022, the court would issue an opinion adopting a plan thereafter.

Similar Case: Carter v. DeGraffenreid

CASE LIBRARY

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania - No. 464 MD 2021 [together with No. 465 MD 2021] [Formerly Carter v. Degraffenreid II]

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania - No. 141 MM 2021 [together with No. 142 MM 2021]

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Middle District - 5 MAP 2022 [together with 6 MAP 2022]