On Monday, March 19, 2018, the United States Supreme Court turned away a case involving the opposition of a congressional map accused of serious, unfair gerrymandering led by several Republican politicians within Pennsylvania’s legislature.
Previously, a map of various districts within Pennsylvania’s state lines heavily favored conservative voters. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the New England state’s most powerful judicial board, had leveled the uneven playing field to favor both sides’ interests.
Seeing as “packing and cracking,” a more literal, explanatory term describing gerrymandering, is so deeply ingrained within United States politics, it comes as no surprise that those Pennsylvanian Republicans opposed the decision to redo the state’s various districts. If Democrats were originally favored in the state’s map of voting lines, it’s almost certain that they would have fought a ruling in court that effectively apportioned more votes to the opposite political party.
Directly following Monday’s rejection of the case by the United States Supreme Court, those same lawmakers filed an emergency appeal that sought to halt any permanent changes from being written down in tried, true books of law. However, that same body rejected the emergency appeal, effectively making the new congressional map less one-sided in favor of state Republicans, giving Democrats a better chance at success in state-level elections coming up this year.
Unless any Supreme Court justices in the state of Pennsylvania are impeached, the newly-defined map will stand as legal.
The case dates back all the way to January 2018, when Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices ruled 5-2 that Republicans had unfairly gerrymandered all congressional districts in the state along lines that violated the state’s constitution.
In all practicality, it seems odd that any constitution would formally rule against packing and cracking. Gerrymandering – packing and cracking – is obviously an unfair strategy to gain more votes for a party that isn’t as strongly represented in a region the presiding party, though the process is, unfortunately, effectively legalized in practice.