A NOVEL judicial decision in Pennsylvania has prompted a rather desperate request to the country's Supreme Court. The subject, gerrymandering, is an increasingly familiar one in America’s courts: a time-worn, now computer-weaponised ploy whereby political parties rig electoral maps to rope out the opposition. Republicans in Pennsylvania did a bang-up job of capitalising on their power after taking control of the legislature in 2010. Their creatively redrawn map delivered 13 of the state’s 18 seats in the House of Representatives to their party in 2012, 2014 and 2016—despite Republicans commanding only about half of the state-wide vote in each election.
On January 22nd Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that this gerrymander was unfair to voters (see article). The congressional map “clearly, plainly and palpably” violates the state constitution, the court decided in a 4-3 vote. Though the…Continue reading