Gerrymandering reformers open new front – Allentown Morning Call
Pennsylvania reformers intend to file suit to overturn the state’s gerrymandered congressional districts, opening a new front in the effort to transfer power from party bosses to voters.
This is one of two subjects I want to touch on today, including some reaction to my call for a negotiated peace in the War on Drugs.
I’ve been reporting on growing grass-roots support for legislative efforts to end Pennsylvania gerrymandering.
Two bipartisan bills in the Senate and House have the strong support of Common Cause of Pennsylvania, the League of Women Voters project Fair Districts PA and other organizations. Both would change Pennsylvania over to a system resembling the way districts are drawn up in California, with clear standards to ensure public input and a fair, nonpartisan outcome.
Although both bills have been gaining rank-and-file backing, the key, as always in Harrisburg, will be winning over party leaders so they’ll let the bills out of committee for a floor vote.
But now, good government advocates are unveiling another path to reform.
Activists from across the state will gather in the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday afternoon to announce legal action over congressional gerrymandering.
Barbara M. Grimaldi, director of development and communications for the Public Interest Law Center & Communications, reported, “The lawsuit will be filed in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania and will allege that the congressional districting map is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.”
As this suit is being filed, the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to uphold a lower court’s finding that Wisconsin’s redistricting was unconstitutional, in part by relying on a mathematical formula known as the “efficiency gap.”
In a 2004 partisan gerrymandering case that split the Supreme Court, potential swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that he was seeking “a manageable standard by which to measure the