On Monday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court voted 4-3 to approve a new congressional map created to erase partisan gerrymandering state Republicans set in 2010. The new boundaries, drawn by Stanford law professor Nate Persily, splits only 13 counties, from 28 counties in the old map, and appears to make the map generally more favorable for Democrats, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. (For more details, read new rankings from Dave Wasserman at the Cook Political Report.) Under the old map, Republicans consistently won 13 of the 18 districts even as Democrats and Republicans voted in roughly equal proportions.
"But don't expect the map to end the battle," the Inquirer says, since Republicans said before the new map was even issued that they would challenge in federal court whatever the state high court approved. Republicans will likely argue that the court usurped the legislature's role in deciding political boundaries, but the U.S. Supreme Court already declined to hear that challenge, says election law expert Rick Hasen. "Bottom line: It is hard to see where Republicans go from here to successfully fight these maps." Also, he adds, "given Nate Persily's general reputation for fairness, I expect that these maps will be fair and comply with the requirements set out by the state Supreme Court."
The state Supreme Court also approved a new nomination calendar that keeps the May 15 primary election date.