On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied state Republicans’ request for a stay in League of Women Voters v. Pennsylvania. In that case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had struck down as an unconstitutionally partisan gerrymander the districts for the U.S. Congress drawn by the state legislature, with the reasoning specified in an opinion issued Wednesday. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has until Feb. 15 to come up with a district plan that satisfies its Republican-controlled legislature and its Democratic governor — and which the state Supreme Court will find acceptable. Most observers bet that it will not happen by the deadline…

There are at least two important legal issues the court would have to tackle in a new map.

First, partisan gerrymandering is like cancer: Sometimes the signs are obvious, but sometimes no signs can be seen. Districts that are bizarrely drawn and unnecessarily fragment existing political boundaries such as townships and counties almost always indicate partisan gerrymandering. But sometimes districts satisfy good-government criteria on their face and nonetheless have egregious partisan intent and effects. The court will have to watch out for such maps, lest it approve what we might call “stealth” gerrymandering.

Read on, courtesy of The Washington Post

 

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