Pa. Supreme Court deems congressional lines unconstitutional

Feb 6, 2018
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In a 2017 report, the Brennan Center for Justice said, “Every decade, states redraw congressional maps after the decennial census”.

Redistricting is a legislative process, and the court mustn’t appear to be priming the Legislature for failure so it can usurp the role.

The leaders argued Wecht had denied them an impartial bench, citing public comments against partisan gerrymandering and, specifically, the state’s current Congressional map during his 2015 election campaign.

“That local-rule argument was squarely foreclosed by the Supreme Court, who acknowledged that the chronic underfunding of school districts is not a matter of local rule, but a matter of state requirement under the Education Clause of our Constitution”, McInerney said. If the General Assembly doesn’t get it done, or Wolf doesn’t approve, the court will redraw it. Mundy won reelection for a 10-year term less than a week later.

The state Supreme Court said it expects new districts to be in place by February 19, and the new map is expected to be in play for the May 15 congressional primaries. In California, a citizens redistricting commission in 2010 was infiltrated by union-backed groups and, no surprise, produced maps that pretty clearly advantage Democratic candidates. The state now has divided power, with the Legislature controlled by Republicans and a Democrat, Wolf, in the governor’s office.

The good thing for the GOP is that I may have previously exaggerated the impact re-districting will have: it turns out that new maps may not cost them more than two or three seats.

One of the key questions that a Justice or the full Court must consider in deciding whether to delay a lower court ruling is whether there is a reasonably good chance that, when a formal appeal arrives, it will be granted review.

Republicans control 13 of the 18 Pennsylvania districts despite being outnumbered by Democrats five to four.

Last week, after the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court invalidated the state’s GOP-friendly congressional map, top Republicans in the state Legislature asked the state Supreme Court to throw out the decision.

This comes back to the core issue that needs to be addressed by the General Assembly – who should draw the maps? Republicans are only targeting one of the state’s five Democrats, Matt Cartwright in the 17th District.

In a 5-2 decision that split down party lines, the court said lines must be redrawn in time for the May 15 primary. Yet both bills are still mired in committee, with the Republican chairmen refusing to hold hearings. Pat Meehan imploded when it was revealed he used taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim made by a former, much younger aide who claimed the Congressman had pursued her romantically and then turned on her when she entered a relationship with another man. Federal courts in those states also ordered new maps to be drawn for the 2018 midterms. I’m not sure this represents the best possible congressional map-in fact, I’m not sure there is such a thing, period-but it’s a pretty clear improvement over the cartoonish shapes and Democratic “vote sinks” that defined the 2011 maps.

Their view: Reform congressional maps now

 

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