Pa. Supreme Court will pick chair of powerful state redistricting panel

A five-member commission is tasked with drawing new state House and Senate maps every 10 years. (Madhuri Shukla for Spotlight PA)

A five-member commission is tasked with drawing new state House and Senate maps every 10 years. (Madhuri Shukla for Spotlight PA)

This story originally appeared on Spotlight PA.

This article is part of a year-long reporting project focused on redistricting and gerrymandering in Pennsylvania. It’s made possible by the support of Spotlight PA members and Votebeat, a project focused on election integrity and voting access.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will pick the chair of a powerful redistricting panel after the General Assembly’s top leaders failed to agree on a person to cast the likely tie-breaking vote.

The decision has been sent to the court in almost every decade since the Legislative Reapportionment Commission was first convened in 1971 to draw the state’s House and Senate maps. The four, top lawmakers who serve on the panel interviewed more than 30 people for the position, but said in a letter Friday they were “unable to make a decision.”

“While we were unable to find consensus on one individual to serve as chair, we were thoroughly impressed by the field of applicants who came forth to testify,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Chief Justice Max Baer.

The state Supreme Court has until May 30 to make its decision, and the person it picks could have major implications for what the state House and Senate maps look like for the next decade.

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