The state's primary elections ran along maps drawn by a former commission in 2001.
The reapportionment challenges go before a court that lost one of its Republican tiebreakers in Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who remains suspended without pay on criminal charges. Orie Melvin wrote a dissenting opinion when the court initially rejected the maps in February.
Voter ID on the Fast Track
Orie Melvin's suspension could also affect the court's decision on the state's voter ID law, which Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson upheld last month following a constitutional challenge.
Simpson denied the petitioners' application for a preliminary injunction, making his ruling even as the state government lawyers stipulated that they could not offer any evidence that in-person voter fraud has occurred in Pennsylvania. Further, the petitioners presented the comments of House Republican Majority Leader Mike Turzai that passage of the voter ID law "is going to allow [former Massachusetts] Governor [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania."
That ruling came August 15 and the case heads to the justices less than a month later.
Simpson, in a 70-page opinion, pointed out that voters could bring constitutional challenges to the law as the law applies to them in the future. The petitioners proved an as-applied case, he added, but they brought a facial challenge under the state constitution.
Can Emotional Distress Be Bodily Injury?
On a busy Tuesday for the Supreme Court, the justices will hear arguments in Lipsky v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance over whether emotional distress without physical injury can be covered under an automobile insurance policy's definition of bodily injury.
The policy at issue in the case provides coverage for bodily injury defined as "bodily injury to a person and sickness, disease or death which results from it."
According to the lower court's opinion in Lipsky, a parent and siblings who witnessed a family member struck by a car and killed are seeking damages under the bodily injury portion of the policy insuring the car involved. In a September 2011 opinion, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled the family could collect damages under the policy because witnessing a family member killed by a car is a distinct bodily injury covered under the policy's definition of "bodily injury."
The high court granted State Farm's appeal, limited to two issues. The court will review whether the family's damages do in fact meet the policy's bodily injury definition. If so, the court will also look at whether the family members' claims are subject to the "each accident" liability limits rather than the "each person" limits despite the fact that their emotional distress resulted from the bodily injury suffered by their family member and the policy includes in the "each person" limits "all injury and damages to others resulting from this bodily injury."