Toth v. Chapman – Redistricting; Independent State Legislature Theory (PA)
On February 11, 2022, a group of Pennsylvania voters, congressional candidates, and a member of a local board of elections filed a complaint against Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman, and others in the United States District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. They challenged the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s involvement in redrawing the state’s congressional districts.
The plaintiffs argued that using the congressional map adopted by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania would run afoul of the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution and a rarely invoked federal statute.
Following a federal district court’s denial of emergency relief, plaintiffs filed an emergency application to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking an injunction that would require Pennsylvania to conduct at-large, statewide congressional elections. The defendants filed an opposition brief noting that the claims failed on the merits and that granting relief would run afoul of principles of equity.
The States United Democracy Center acted as pro bono counsel for Defendants in this case along with Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller and Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP.
On March 7, 2022, the Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs’ application for relief and sent the case back to a three-judge panel, which dismissed two of the three claims raised by the plaintiffs. On March 28, the plaintiffs filed a notice of voluntary dismissal asking the clerk to dismiss the case without prejudice.