Pennsylvania's state Supreme Court will now consider a new map of congressional districts recommended Monday by a lower court judge who picked a proposal favored by top Republican lawmakers but opposed by Democrats.
The map recommended by Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough, a Republican, came from a pool of more than a dozen submitted to the court.
The map — which passed the Republican-controlled Legislature without support from a single Democratic lawmaker — sides with Republicans on the most prominent areas of disagreement.
The question of redrawing the state's congressional districts has gone to the courts after Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled Legislature deadlocked.
McCullough held three days of hearings on proposals and had a choice of maps submitted by Republican lawmakers, Wolf, Democratic lawmakers, partisans on both sides and good-government groups.
It is strictly a recommendation on which the state Supreme Court — with a 5-2 Democratic majority — will make the ultimate decision. In 1992, when a similar process played out, the high court went along with the lower court judge's recommendation.
Pennsylvania, like most other states, must redraw its congressional district boundaries to account for a decade of demographic shifts. The new districts must take effect in this year’s election, to last until 2032's election.
Complicating the process is Pennsylvania’s loss of a seat, from 18 to 17, as the Census showed the nation growing more quickly in population over the past decade than Pennsylvania.
The primary election is May 17.
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