(HARRISBURG) – As the legal costs to taxpayers surpasses the $1 million mark, Senate Republican Leaders today called on the League of Women Voters to withdraw its redistricting case, which would allow the Senate’s ongoing examination of reforms to move forward.
In Pennsylvania, a lawsuit was filed by Washington, D.C.-based attorneys on behalf of the League of Women voters and 18 Pennsylvania petitioners, all of whom are registered as Democrats. The petitioners object to the bi-partisan redistricting plan passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor in 2011. The lawsuit was filed almost 6 years after the plan became law and after three Congressional elections had been held.
“Taxpayers are paying a hefty price for the League of Women Voters’ Washington, D.C., attorneys to argue gerrymandering, when courts have ruled that a partisan advantage is not against well-established federal and state law,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25). “With a Commonwealth Court Judge decision saying that the state’s Congressional districts are Constitutional, we hope the League and 18 petitioners would spare taxpayers further costs by dropping the case.”
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge P. Kevin Brobson’s December 2017 recommendation stated: “While Petitioners characterize the level of partisanship evident in the 2011 Plan as “unfair,” Petitioners have not articulated a judicially manageable standard by which this Court can discern whether the 2011 Plan crosses the line between permissible partisan considerations and unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering under the Pennsylvania Constitution.”
“As this case heads for the state Supreme Court, the costs to taxpayers only continue to mount,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34). “We are asking the League of Women Voters and its 18 plaintiffs in the case to be respectful of taxpayers and their hard-earned money. Instead of working against us, we invite them to participate in our ongoing review of the redistricting process. We recognize the value in examining this process and identifying ways it could be improved.”
Members of the Senate Republican Caucus have introduced and supported redistricting reform proposals in the current Legislative Session, and the Senate State Government Committee had scheduled a hearing to examine election reform and will look at redistricting reforms in the near future – all of which have been put on hold due to the pending litigation. Senate Leaders urge that federal cases regarding this matter should cease as well.
“Spearheaded by the League of Women Voters, this lawsuit is partisan politics under the guise of good public policy,” Scarnati said. “Good public policy would be working with us toward an amiable solution that is thoroughly vetted by a General Assembly and its members, who are directly accountable to voters every 2 to 4 years, not by the courts.”
CONTACT: Drew Crompton – Senator Scarnati – (717) 787-7084