League of Women Voters of PA v. Cmwlth

[J-1-2018] IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA MIDDLE DISTRICT SAYLOR, C.J., BAER, TODD, DONOHUE, DOUGHERTY, WECHT, MUNDY, JJ. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF : No. 159 MM 2017 PENNSYLVANIA, CARMEN FEBO SAN : MIGUEL, JAMES SOLOMON, JOHN : On the Recommended Findings of Fact GREINER, JOHN CAPOWSKI, : and Conclusions of Law of the GRETCHEN BRANDT, THOMAS : Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania RENTSCHLER, MARY ELIZABETH : entered on 12/29/18 at No. 261 MD LAWN, LISA ISAACS, DON LANCASTER, : 2017 JORDI COMAS, ROBERT SMITH, : WILLIAM MARX, RICHARD MANTELL, : ARGUED: January 17, 2018 PRISCILLA MCNULTY, THOMAS : ULRICH, ROBERT MCKINSTRY, MARK : LICHTY, LORRAINE PETROSKY, : : Petitioners : : : v. : : : THE COMMONWEALTH OF : PENNSYLVANIA; THE PENNSYLVANIA : GENERAL ASSEMBLY; THOMAS W. : WOLF, IN HIS CAPACITY AS : GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA; : MICHAEL J. STACK III, IN HIS CAPACITY : AS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF : PENNSYLVANIA AND PRESIDENT OF : THE PENNSYLVANIA SENATE; : MICHAEL C. TURZAI, IN HIS CAPACITY : AS SPEAKER OF THE PENNSYLVANIA : HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES; : JOSEPH B. SCARNATI III, IN HIS : CAPACITY AS PENNSYLVANIA SENATE : PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE; ROBERT : TORRES, IN HIS CAPACITY AS ACTING : SECRETARY OF THE : COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA; : JONATHAN M. MARKS, IN HIS : CAPACITY AS COMMISSIONER OF THE : BUREAU OF COMMISSIONS, : ELECTIONS, AND LEGISLATION OF : THE PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF : STATE, : : Respondents : OPINION JUSTICE TODD FILED: February 7, 2018 It is a core principle of our republican form of government “that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.”1 In this case, Petitioners allege that the Pennsylvania Congressional Redistricting Act of 20112 (the “2011 Plan”) does the latter, infringing upon that most central of democratic rights – the right to vote. Specifically, they contend that the 2011 Plan is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. While federal courts have, to date, been unable to settle on a workable standard by which to assess such claims under the federal Constitution, we find no such barriers under our great Pennsylvania charter. The people of this Commonwealth should never lose sight of the fact that, in its protection of essential rights, our founding document is the ancestor, not the offspring, of the federal Constitution. We conclude that, in this matter, it provides a constitutional standard, and remedy, even if the federal charter does not. Specifically, we hold that the 2011 Plan violates Article I, Section 5 – the Free and Equal Elections Clause – of the Pennsylvania Constitution. 1 Mitchell N. Berman, Managing Gerrymandering, 83 Tex. L. Rev. 781, 781 (2005), quoted in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Indep. Redistricting Comm'n, 135 S. Ct. 2652, 2677 (2015). 2 Act of Dec. 22, 2011, P.L. 599, No. 131, 25 P.S. §§ 3596.101 et seq. [J-1-2018] - 2 The challenge herein was brought in June 2017 by Petitioners, the League of Women Voters3 and 18 voters – all registered Democrats, one from each of our ...

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals