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decided: December 29, 1981.


W.D. Misc. Docket Nos. 331, 333, 337, 339, 342, 343, 346-348, 1981, M.D. Misc. Docket Nos. 118 and 119, 1981, E.D. Misc. Docket Nos. 535, 542, 556, 558, 584, 588, 590, 591, 594-597, 599, 601, 602, 605-607, 1981.


Larry B. Selkowitz, Camp Hill, Andrew S. Ross, Harrisburg, for Common Cause et al. in No. 118.

John H. Broujos, Carlisle, for William P. Feuchtenberger et al. in No. 119.

James W. Dunn, Jr., Pittsburgh, for J. Howard Womsley et al. in No. 333.

Samuel J. Reich, Terry L. Jordan, Pittsburgh, for Edward E. Stevens, etc., et al. in No. 331.

John R. Luke, Pittsburgh, for Samuel L. McPherson, etc., in No. 337.

Donald R. Walko, Jr., Pittsburgh, for Michael Dawida in No. 339; Michael Dawida, in pro. per.

Donald Lee, Pittsburgh, for John R. Bonassi et al. in No. 342.

George Pott, in pro. per.

Larry B. Selkowitz, Camp Hill, for Borough of Wesleyville in No. 346.

Timothy P. O'Reilly, Pittsburgh, for Borough of Glassport in No. 347.

James M. Burd, in pro. per.

Jeffrey L. Pettit, Perrin C. Hamilton, Philadelphia, for Richard A. Filghman in No. 535.

Harvey Bartle, III, Harrisburg, for Kathleen Brescia, etc., in No. 542.

Peter C. Paul, Philadelphia, for Chestnut Hill Community Ass'n et al. in No. 556.

Louis W. Fryman, William A. Meehan, Philadelphia, for Republican City Committee of Philadelphia, etc., et al. in No. 558.

James L. J. Pie, in pro. per., for Committee to Save the 189th Legislative Dist. et al. in No. 584.

P. Stephan Lerario, Philadelphia, for Mark Cohen et al. in No. 588.

Robert E. Paul, in pro. per.

Edward V. Schulgen, Philadelphia, for Committee for Fair Reapportionment, etc., in No. 594.

Ralph David Samuel, Philadelphia, for West. Mt. Airy Neighbors, Inc., in No. 595.

Robert J. Mulligan, Jr., Harrisburg, for Wilfredo P. Rojas et al. in No. 597.

Peter J. Rohana, Jr., Springfield, for Ridley Tp. et al. in No. 599.

William T. Smith, Harrisburg, Joseph McKenna, Pottsville, for Schuylkill County Republican Organization et al. in No. 601.

Gregory M. Harvey, Philadelphia, for Philip Price, Jr., et al. in No. 602.

Gregory M. Harvey, Philadelphia, Robert Sullivan, Jr., Lebanon, for Charles D. Snelling in No. 605.

John L. Butler in pro. per.

Paul E. Holl, Lansdale, for Edwin G. Holl, etc., in No. 607.

Thomas N. O'Neill, Jr., Philadelphia, for Legislative Reapportionment Commission.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, Kauffman and Wilkinson, JJ. Nix and Larsen, JJ., file dissenting opinions. Kauffman, J., files a dissenting opinion in which Larsen, J., joins.

Author: Roberts

[ 497 Pa. Page 530]


These are consolidated appeals from the Final Legislative Reapportionment Plan, which was filed by the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission on October 13, 1981. For the reasons set forth, we hold that the reapportionment plan complies with all of the requirements of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of this Commonwealth.

The plan challenged on these appeals is the second reapportionment plan to be adopted by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission, which, since 1968, has been constitutionally vested with the obligation to reapportion the legislative districts of the Commonwealth "[i]n each year following that in which the Federal decennial census is officially reported." Pa.Const. art. II, § 17(a).*fn1 Pursuant to the

[ 497 Pa. Page 531]

Constitution, the Commission consists of five members who act by majority vote: the majority and minority leaders of both the Senate and House of Representatives (or deputies appointed by each of them), and a chairman who is selected either by the other four members of the Commission or, if the four Commission members are unable to do so within the time prescribed, by this Court. Pa.Const. art. II, § 17(b). The present Legislative Reapportionment Commission, which consists of the majority and minority members of each house and a chairman selected by them, unanimously adopted the Final Legislative Reapportionment Plan now before this Court for review.

Appellants appeal pursuant to Pa.Const. art. II, § 17(d), which provides that "any aggrieved person may file an appeal from the final plan directly to the Supreme Court within thirty days after the filing thereof." Pursuant to that same constitutional provision, appellants have the burden of establishing "that the final plan is contrary to law." See Commonwealth ex rel. Specter v. Levin, 448 Pa. 1, 19, 293 A.2d 15, 24 (1972), appeal dism'd for want of substantial federal question, 409 U.S. 810, 93 S.Ct. 44, 34 L.Ed.2d 65 (1972).*fn2


The law which governs these appeals and circumscribes this Court's review of the Commission's Final Legislative Reapportionment Plan is set forth in Article II, Section 16 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In interpreting the Equal Protection Clause, the Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly recognized that reapportionment "is

[ 497 Pa. Page 532]

    primarily a matter for legislative consideration and determination." Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 586, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 1394, 12 L.Ed.2d 506 (1964). Accord, e.g., Gaffney v. Cummings, 412 U.S. 735, 93 S.Ct. 2321, 37 L.Ed.2d 298 (1973); Mahan v. Howell, 410 U.S. 315, 93 S.Ct. 979, 35 L.Ed.2d 320 (1973); Ely v. Klahr, 403 U.S. 108, 91 S.Ct. 1803, 29 L.Ed.2d 352 (1971); Burns v. Richardson, 384 U.S. 73, 86 S.Ct. 1286, 16 L.Ed.2d 376 (1966). In addressing the limited, constitutional nature of judicial review of reapportionment matters, the Supreme Court of the United States has rejected ...

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