HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Wednesday, the Pennsylvania State Supreme court chose the commonwealth’s new Congressional map.
In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled in favor of the Carter Plan.
The Democratic-majority court was tasked with choosing the new map after Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the one sent to him by the Republican-majority General Assembly.
The plan was submitted by the Carter petitioners in a lawsuit where they asked the court to take over the process when it became clear Wolf and the legislature would not reach an agreement.
The petitioners submitted the map with support from the National Redistricting Action Fund, an affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
Rural areas will see an expansion of their district because of population loss.
The new map shows a big change to the 12th and 15th Congressional districts, currently represented by Congressmen Fred Keller, and Glen Thompson, respectively.
Spanning across much of the northern tier, the new 15th district will expand from western PA to the border of Tioga and Bradford counties.
The 12th district will now cover parts of Westmoreland and Allegheny counties.
The merge between both Rep. Keller’s and Rep. Thompson’s districts means the U.S. House Republican colleagues will likely be facing off in the spring primary for Pennsylvania’s new 15th district.
Governor Wolf released a statement on the decision earlier today:
“I am pleased with today’s ruling adopting the so-called ‘Carter Plan’ for Congressional redistricting. It is a fair map that will result in a Congressional delegation mirroring the citizenry of Pennsylvania,” said Gov. Wolf. “With today’s decision, we could again send to Washington members of Congress elected in districts that are fairly drawn without favor to one party or the other.”
Speaker of The House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) issued a joint statement in response to the Carter Plan, which in part says:
“This is not about where lines are drawn or where they could have been drawn. The court has now confirmed once and for all they do not abide by the state and federal constitutions. Only the map submitted by House and Senate Republicans followed all constitutional guidelines, went through a deliberative legislative process and was endorsed by a judicial body. Sadly, candidates and voters must now submit to a unilateral court that sees itself above every person in our commonwealth.”
Candidates for Congress and statewide positions will have from Feb 25 to Mar 15 to circulate and file nomination petitions in order to get on the ballot.
At this point, the primary election is still on schedule for May 17.