6 years ago today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared the State Senate and House districts were unconstitutional based on the evidence presented in my case. Just 2 days ago, this same court declared another legislative map unconstitutional — the map configuring congressional districts.
The court order gives the main point of their decision: Section 16 of the Pennsylvania Constitution (which protects county, municipal, and ward boundaries when forming districts) also applies to congressional districts.
What would it look like if a congressional map did not divide any municipalities? I asked myself this question and came up with the following answer.
These districts would afford equal representation through impartially drawn districts, unlike the ones currently in place.
The alternative map has the following constitutional advantages:
- Respect for county, municipal, and ward boundaries
- 0 municipalities divided (other than Philly, which is larger than a congressional district)
- 3 wards (all in Philly) are divided while still respecting minorities
- 16 of the 67 counties are divided
- 21 total splits
- Virtually the same population in each district!
- Ideal district size: 705,678
- Overall Deviation: 125 people or 0.0177% (difference between the largest and smallest district)
As the state continues to fight this, will the revised maps show any improvement? Or will Pennsylvania once again be left in a position which permits absurdity in the pursuit of equality?