They controlled the General Assembly during the last round of congressional redistricting more than a decade ago.
Finding themselves with a map that's improved their electoral fortunes so well that there's a decent chance that Democrats will pick up as many as two seats (and perhaps more) during the 2018 midterms, according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight.com.
The justices were advised by Nathan Persily, a Stanford law professor with a background in drawing political district maps.
"This Court was compelled to decide whether to perpetuate an unconstitutional districting plan, which would result in the unlawful dilution of our citizens' votes in the impending election, or to rectify the violation of our Commonwealth's Constitution immediately", the majority of the court wrote in Monday's order.
Republicans signaled last week they would challenge the court's map and have been dragging their feet over complying with court instructions.
Democrats took control of the state Supreme Court in 2015-judges in Pennsylvania serve in technically nonpartisan role but are elected via a partisan process-and some of the new justices campaigned on a promise to review the Republican-drawn congressional maps if given the chance. "They wanted to see what the Pennsylvania Supreme Court actually did", said Turzai.
He calls the court's map an effort to remedy the state's unfair and unequal congressional elections.
Please note that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed the 2011 Pennsylvania congressional map by a vote of 136-61, with 100 Republicans voting "yes" and 36 Democrats voting "yes". He says it was too close to election time for this to happen. And he says the implementation of the new map, with such a tight time-line, is a due-process and equal protection issue.
Some legal observers are skeptical that argument will go anywhere in federal court.
Gone is the "goofy and Donald" seventh district, which now covers Lehigh and Northampton. He pointed to three examples of what he described as map design decisions made from "blatant political motivations".
The best example of that phenomenon is with the minor changes to the boundary of the current 8th district, which mostly follows the outline of Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia. That has sowed confusion, including whether two candidates running to fill a vacancy in southwestern Pennsylvania would each land in a district with a Pittsburgh-area congressman. It is also somewhat more favorable to Democrats than the prior map, but does not erase the Republican bias of the state entirely and leaves most voters in landslide districts for one party.
"It is an incredible, highly partisan, unconstitutional power-grab" by the state Supreme Court, Toomey said.
It's hard to feel bad for the Republicans, who drew a bad-faith map in 2011 and eventually got their comeuppance for doing so. They say the U.S. Constitution only grants legislatures the ability to draw congressional districts and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court can not step in to draw its own map.
Friedenberg confirmed that news with The Era on Tuesday, saying he could now be facing U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Lycoming County, in the newly drawn 12th District, which stretches from State College down to around Lewistown and up by Sayre.