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Philadelphia Inquirer Quotes Professor Tabatha Abu El-Haj on Pennsylvania Gerrymandering Case

Tabatha Abu El-Haj

October 20, 2017

The stakes are high in the League of Women Voters’ lawsuit against the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s Republican leadership, Professor Tabatha Abu El-Haj said in an article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Oct. 19.

The league is asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to fast-track its lawsuit, alleging that Pennsylvania’s congressional map represents an extreme example of partisan gerrymandering designed to favor Republicans.

A Commonwealth Court judge has declined to take action on the case until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a similar case in Wisconsin, delaying resolution of the Pennsylvania matter until after 2018 elections.

“The defendants are trying to stall,” Abu El-Haj said, adding that postponing the decision until after the 2018 elections is “clearly a partisan interest on the part of the defendants.”

Republicans hold 13 of Pennsylvania’s 18 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, yet the state’s voters are fairly evenly split between the parties, the article said, noting that the state's district are considered to be among the most distorted in the nation.

“It is unfair for Pennsylvania residents to have to live under these maps for an entire decade,” Abu El-Haj said, adding that a decision could benefit the league even if it occurs after the next election cycle. “The issue won’t be moot because it will still affect the negotiating positions of the parties in the next round of redistricting.”