U.S. state court rules against political 'gerrymandering'

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Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court drafted a new congressional map after ruling that the previous version was unfairly structured to favor Republicans. The new map will apply to the upcoming 2018 midterm elections unless a Republicans are successful in reversing the court decision. 

A swing state, Pennsylvania has an equitable mix of liberal and conservative voters, yet the state currently has 13 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and only five Democrats.

The Philadelphia Inquirer posted a graphic of the court’s map, which has far more compact districts that largely adhere to county lines. According to FiveThirtyEight, the court’s map will increase Democrats’ chances of winning a sixth seat.

The current structural tilt towards the GOP is no accident, but the result of the state legislature redrawing the districts that are represented in Washington, D.C. This partisan ploy, often referred to as “gerrymandering,” is a state-level process with federal ramifications.

Mock up of ‘Gerrymandering.’ Posted by Reddit user: N8theGr8

Gerrymandering has a long history with both political parties. But with Republicans currently controlling the majority of statehouses, recent gerrymandering has disproportionately hurt Democrats.

This is not the first battle over partisan redistricting. In North Carolina, a federal judge ruled that Republican state leadership was also unconstitutionally tilting their congressional maps towards their own party.

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