Bucks Writs - Summer 2017 - 9

PENNSYLVANIA DISTRICT 7

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the 2012, 2014 and 2016 congressional elections using
three separate quantitative measures of partisan bias.1
That quantitative analysis found Pennsylvania to be one
of three states with consistently extreme levels of partisan
bias.2 The Brennan Center considers this level of gerrymandering to be an alarming threat to democracy.3

system? Harvard Business School alumni believe that
gerrymandering reform is the top priority.5

How to Solve the Gerrymandering Problem
As lawyers, we are trained to look for and to avoid
conflicts of interest. Shouldn't legislators do the same?
Drawing the boundaries of their own districts, choosing
the people they want to vote for them, is a clear conflict
of interest. Voters should choose their legislators, not
the other way around. The good news is that there is
something we can do about this problem.

Without competitive elections, legislators pander to their
extreme base to stay in office. Compromise becomes
impossible, the important business of governing is mired
in gridlock, and our infrastructure, educational system,
economy, and prosperity suffer. A September 2016 report
of Harvard Business School's U.S. Competitiveness Project
includes this key finding: "The U.S. political system was
once the envy of many nations... Today, we believe that
our political system is now the major obstacle to progress
on the economy..."4 How to fix that broken political

The Pennsylvania Constitution currently provides for state
house and senate redistricting to be accomplished by a
reapportionment commission consisting of five legislators,
two each from the majority and the minority party with
the fifth member, the chairperson, to be selected by the
four members.6 If the four are unable to agree on the fifth
member, which has historically been the case, a majority

1 Brennan Center for Justice, Extreme Maps, published May
2017 (Efficiency Gap Analysis, Seats-to-Votes Curve Analysis
and Means-Median Difference Analysis).
2 Id. at page 15.
3 Id. at page 1.
4 http://www.hbs.edu/competitiveness/Documents/problemsunsolved-and-a-nation-divided.pdf, page 48.

5 http://www.hbs.edu/competitiveness/Documents/problemsunsolved-and-a-nation-divided.pdf, page 55.
6 Section 17 of Article II of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.

9

SUMMER 2017



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