On Monday, January 22, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania threw out the map of that state’s congressional districts, holding that it was an illegal gerrymander. The Court gave the legislature until February 9 to create a new map.
The word “gerrymander” comes from a salamander-shaped district created by Elbridge Gerry, Governor of Massachusetts in the early 19th century, to favor the Jeffersonians over the Federalists. In the two centuries since, the partisan motivations for specific maps have always been political issues, although in some periods such matters have boiled over and in others they have merely simmered.
A Republican controlled legislature created the current controversial district map in 2011.
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The state Supreme Court said that it will draw its own map if the legislature cannot do so by the deadline. If will employ the evidence entered during a trial last month in order to draw lines it will deem fair.