On December 21, 2001, a group of Pennsylvanian voters filed a federal lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and various legislative and executive branch officials challenging the General Assembly's enacted congressional plan as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and as violating the one person, one vote constitutional requirement. Plaintiffs alleged that the enacted congressional plan was designed to disproportionately favor the Republican Party and its candidates and to disfavor the Democratic Party and its candidates, and that the General Assembly subordinated neutral redistricting criteria to secure this partisan advantage. In doing so, plaintiffs alleged that the plan violated their right to vote for their U.S. Congressional Representative under Article I, Sections 2 and 4 of the U.S. Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause and Privileges and Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment, and the right to free association under the 1st Amendment. Plaintiffs also alleged that the plan violated the one person, one vote constitutional requirement under Article I, Section 2 because the plan's total population deviation of 19 people was not supported by any adequate justification. They sought a judicial declaration that the enacted plan was unconstitutional, an injunction barring the defendants from using the plan or any other unconstitutional plan in future elections, and a court order imposing a new plan for use in the 2002 elections and barring the defendants from implementing a new plan prior to the 2004 elections.

On February 22, 2002, the district court's three-judge panel issued an order dismissing all of the plaintiffs' partisan gerrymandering claims for failing to state a valid claim, but permitted the plaintiffs to proceed with their one person, one vote challenge. On April 8, 2002, the district court panel held that the General Assembly's enacted congressional plan violated the one person, one vote requirement after finding that the defendants failed to provide a legitimate justification for the plan's deviations. The court initially enjoined the plan from being used in the 2002 elections, but later stayed its decision and allowed the map to be used to allow the primary election to proceed as scheduled. The General Assembly passed a revised congressional plan remedying the one person, one vote issues on April 17, 2002, which was signed into law the next day. On January 24, 2003, the district court issued an opinion giving final approval to the General Assembly's revised congressional plan and again rejecting the plaintiffs' renewed partisan gerrymandering claims. The plaintiffs appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court on February 24, 2003.

On April 28, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a split decision that effectively affirmed the district court's judgment but which had no majority opinion. Justice Scalia wrote a four-member plurality opinion in favor of the Court declaring all political gerrymandering claims as nonjusticiable on the grounds that no sufficiently manageable and neutral standard for evaluating partisan gerrymandering claims had arose in the 18 years since the Court last heard such claims in Davis v. Bandemer. Justice Kennedy, providing the fifth vote to affirm the district court's judgment, wrote a concurring opinion in which he explained that the Court should not yet declare partisan gerrymandering claims to be nonjusticiable because it remained possible that an appropriate standard could emerge in the future.


U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania - No. 1:01-cv-2439

U.S. Supreme Court - No. 02-1580