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Arnold & Porter Obtains Pennsylvania Supreme Court Victory in Redistricting Lawsuit

February 5, 2018

In a groundbreaking decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of Arnold & Porter's pro bono clients in the high-profile gerrymandering lawsuit, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth. The Court struck down Pennsylvania's congressional districting map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander exclusively under the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Arnold & Porter's clients, which included 18 individual petitioners and the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, contended that the state's 2011 congressional map discriminated against voters on the basis of their political viewpoints and undermined the electoral process by denying voters a fair opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. The case was initially stayed over the firm's objection, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted the firm's request to exercise "original jurisdiction" over the case in November 2017. The Arnold & Porter team tried the case on an expedited basis in December 2017, and argued it in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in January 2018.

In addition to striking down the 2011 map, the Court ordered that a new and constitutional map be put in place in time for the 2018 congressional elections. Pennsylvania's General Assembly and Governor will have until February 15, 2018 to attempt to enact a new map. If they cannot, the Court will "expeditiously" adopt its own map with input from the parties and the assistance of a nationally recognized expert in this area.

Arnold & Porter associates Elisabeth Theodore and Daniel Jacobson took leading roles at trial along with partner John Freedman and senior counsel David Gersch. Partner Stanton Jones led the brief-writing team and Mr. Gersch argued the case in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Other members of our multidisciplinary team included: senior counsel Steven Mayer and associates Andrew Bergman, Lindsey Carson, John Cella, Helen Mayer Clark, John Robinson, and Jennifer Wieboldt.