Pennsylvania Supreme Court Gives Democrats a Boost in 2018 Midterms

The court threw out Republican-drawn congressional maps and ordered new maps drawn.

Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district, drawn to help Republicans maintain a political edge.Mother Jones; National Atlas

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Republican-drawn state congressional map is illegally gerrymandered to benefit the GOP, ordering new maps ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The decision in one of the country’s most closely watched redistricting battles will provide a boost to Democrats seeking to retake the House of Representatives by giving the party an opportunity to pick up Republican-held seats.

In 2011, Republicans who had swept into power in the wave election the previous November drew one of the country’s most aggressive gerrymanders. Now, Pennsylvania provides a unique opportunity to Democrats in 2018. As Mother Jones previously reported:

While Pennsylvania has roughly equal numbers of Democratic and Republican voters (Donald Trump won here by just 44,000 votes out of more than 6 million cast), for the last six years its congressional delegation has been made up of 13 Republicans and just five Democrats, who mostly represent Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. As Democrats scour the country for the approximately two dozen candidates and winnable districts they’ll need to take back the House, a redrawn congressional map in Pennsylvania could present the party with some prime opportunities to pick up seats.

Monday’s order requires the state’s Republican-led general assembly to draw a new map by February 9 and submit it to the governor—a Democrat—for approval. If the assembly fails to produce any map, or if the governor does not approve it, the state supreme court will produce its own map. The US Supreme Court could block Monday’s decision, but because it involves the interpretation of the Pennsylvania state constitution, such interference with the state court ruling is unlikely. 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate