The Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices who voted down the final plan for new state House and Senate districts more than a week ago have filed their formal majority opinion.
The opinion of Chief Justice Ronald Castille, who cast the tie-breaking fourth vote against the redistricting plan, says past appeals to reapportionment have been rejected because they did not prove the entire map could have been drawn better – only how their particular region’s districts had been drawn unconstitutionally.
Castille singles out two appeals – one by the Senate Democrats, another by a Republican committeewoman who is a self-taught mapmaker – that, in particular, showed a consideration for the big picture.
Most of the 12 appeals to the plan took issue with the number of counties and municipalities that were split.
A lawyer for the Legislative Reapportionment Commission had argued the latest plan actually contained fewer splits than the redistricting plan approved a decade ago.
He noted if the justices approved that, they couldn’t very well reject this plan.
But Castille writes the Supreme Court’s past decisions were not intended to establish a certain number of acceptable splits.