It's unclear how much attention will be given to this map when all is said and done, but Democratic Gov. Wolf has hinted that he thinks it would be optimal to work with his colleagues across the political aisle to submit something to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, calling a "consensus map" an "ideal scenario". And if the governor and Legislature fail to submit a new redistricting plan by next Friday, the Supreme Court will produce its own plan to be used for this year's congressional races.
If legislators send Wolf something he supports, he'll have until February 15 to inform the court.
Tuesday's order means the lower court's ruling will stay in effect for the time being during the appellate process, leaving in place replacement maps drawn up by Nathaniel Persily of Stanford University, referred to in court documents as "Special Master".
The groundbreaking Pennsylvania Supreme Court majority opinion declaring the state congressional map unconstitutionally partisan came down to six simple words in Article 1, Section 5: "Elections shall be free and equal".
"Given the exigent circumstance of the upcoming elections" the plaintiffs say, they are willing to defer proceedings with respect to other state legislative districts they are challenging on the basis of their violating the so-called "whole county provision" of the constitution that says states should avoid splitting up counties as they draw election district lines.
The opinion - which was released Wednesday night, took 139 pages and is one of four issued in the case - gives legislators new guidelines for drawing boundaries on a congressional map that must be sent to the governor Friday.
The Court's opinion stipulates that congressional maps should be "composed of compact and contiguous territory; as almost equal in population as practicable; and which do not divide any county, city, incorporated town, borough, township, or ward, except where necessary to ensure equality of population".
The hustle to redraw the state's congressional maps has left candidates such as Democrat Chrissy Houlahan wondering what district they'll ultimately represent if they win.
The Pennsylvania fight is one of several across the United States over partisan gerrymandering, in which lawmakers design legislative districts to weaken the power of an opposing party's voters. In drawing a new map, the order said, districts should be compact and contiguous, as equal in population as possible, and split as few counties and towns as possible.
Drew Crompton, Senate Republicans' top lawyer, said his caucus is working with House Republicans to develop a map.
Justice Sallie Updyke Mundy wrote in her dissent that the majority opinion is inconsistent with previous case law.
"The ball is in our court", he said. "I don't know", Yaw said. "So we had to go to the courts to get it".
Corman said it's not obvious that the court will automatically OK a plan if it's passed by the Legislature and approved by the governor.
"This decision is a victory for the voters of Pennsylvania who would have been required to vote in a fourth election under an illegal partisan gerrymander had the Court sided with the defendants", Flynn said. Chief Justice Thomas Saylor and Justice Sallie Mundy - the only Republicans - filed separate dissents.
State Rep. Aaron Bernstine, R-Lawrence County, said he would support efforts to imrpove the redistricting process.
While the court delivered its order [text, PDF] finding that the electoral plan violated the Pennsylvania Constitution [text] on January 22, it did not provide a majority opinion until Wednesday.
The court's January 22 order gave the Legislature until Friday to come up with a new redistricting plan for the congressional districts. "It is time to get the 2018 election season started without any more voter confusion".