Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court just dealt Republicans a devastating blow

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided on Monday to toss out the boundaries for the state’s 18 congressional districts on the basis that gerrymandering by the Republican Party violated the state’s constitution.

The Associated Press reported that the Supreme Court granted victory to plaintiffs who claimed that the borders of the congressional districts were drawn unconstitutionally in a way that benefitted Republicans in elections. The 4-3 decision from a Democratic-majority state Supreme Court also includes an order that the Republican-controlled state legislature must redraw the boundaries ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

The legislature has until February 9 to redraw and pass a new and lawful set of boundaries, while Democratic Governor Tom Wolf will have until February 15 to submit the replacement map to the court. That said, an upcoming special election in March to replace Republican Congressman Tim Murphy — representing Pennsylvania’s 18th district, which covers Pittsburgh’s southern suburbs — will utilize the existing congressional map.

The Associated Press noted that the state’s congressional delegation is currently controlled by Republicans by a margin of 13-5, despite registered Democratic voters outnumbering registered Republicans. Republicans had redrawn the state’s map and congressional district boundaries in 2011.

Pennsylvania became a battleground state in the 2016 presidential election — despite a history of siding with the Democratic nominee since 1992 — and ultimately went to Trump in a narrow victory.