State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Impasse Litigation (Carter)

Carter v. Chapman

Lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of voters in Pennsylvania seeking to ensure that new congressional districts are in place for the 2022 elections. The petition points out that Pennsylvania’s current congressional map, which was drawn using 2010 census data, is malapportioned given population shifts over the last decade and  contains an extra district after the state lost a congressional seat following the 2020 census. The lawsuit argues that, since the General Assembly and governor failed to reach a compromise on a new plan before the General Assembly concluded their session and the Legislature will not reconvene until January 2022, it is necessary for the judicial system to step in and draw new districts before the 2022 election cycle begins. The petitioners ask the court to block the use of the current congressional map in future elections because it violates the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitutions and adopt a new congressional map that is fairly apportioned. The case was consolidated with Gressman v. Degraffenreid.

Given the government’s partisan gridlock, the court ordered the various parties to submit map proposals, which can be viewed here. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court accepted extraordinary jurisdiction and took over the case before the trial court issued its decision. Oral argument was held on Friday, Feb. 18 and can be watched here. On Feb. 23, the court adopted a congressional map put forth by the Carter petitioners.

On May 24, Ryan Costello, a former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania, filed a petition in the U.S. Supreme Court. Invoking the independent state legislature theory, Costello is asking the Court to determine if the state Supreme Court overstepped its authority by imposing a congressional map not drawn by the Legislature. On Oct. 3, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Costello’s petition for writ of certiorari.

Case Documents (commonwealth court)

Case Documents (PA supreme Court)

Case Documents (U.S. Supreme Court)

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