Pennsylvania lawmakers face Friday deadline for new congressional map

It could have implications for Pennsylvania in the aftermath of the state Supreme Court order to redraw congressional districts.

Ellis and Madonna both said that the Legislature's effort to get new maps done would have benefitted from a full opinion from the state Supreme Court explaining their rationale for rejecting the existing maps.

On Jan. 22 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered lawmakers to redraw the map by this Friday, giving Wolf, a Democrat, until February 15 to approve it.

Cris Dush distributed a memo calling for the impeachment of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices that ruled in Democrats' favor.

The U.S. Supreme Court last month blocked a ruling that would have forced North Carolina to redraw its congressional voting map for the 2018 election.

The opinion comes about two and a half weeks after the majority Democratic court struck down Pennsylvania's map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander in a 5-2 party-line decision.

"Given the exigent circumstance of the upcoming elections" the plaintiffs say, they are willing to defer proceedings with respect to other state legislative districts they are challenging on the basis of their violating the so-called "whole county provision" of the constitution that says states should avoid splitting up counties as they draw election district lines.

The new mapping will help ensure each one of us has an equal voice into who is elected. Among the options beings considered, he said, was having Scarnati and House Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) submitting a map to Wolf - one that would not go through the normal legislative process. They want those districts in and around Charlotte and Raleigh returned to their shapes as originally drawn in 2011.

The state constitution says House and Senate districts "shall remain unaltered until the return of another decennial census of population taken by order of Congress".

"If you or I or anyone else (refused to obey a court order), we would be in jail", said Heath. And there's some speculation that the state Supreme Court's lack of movement on releasing its detailed opinion may be meant to avoid releasing anything that would provide fodder for a legal challenge, he said.

Drew Crompton, the Senate's top lawyer, told the Post-Gazette that the court's decision raised new questions, including how much politics can play a role in drawing maps.

Carrie Heath, who heads the Tioga County Indivisible movement, said the state court determined the districts are gerrymandered and wants the map re-drawn.

"There's a lot of room for discretionary choice, but it limits the ruling faction from excluding others", Kreimer said.

"A diluted vote is not an equal vote, as all voters do not have an equal opportunity to translate their votes into representation". "This signals there is a second front in the war on partisan gerrymandering through the state courts". He noted the initial state decision struck down the Congressional map but offered no clear guidance on how to fix it. Chief Justice Thomas Saylor and Justice Sallie Mundy - the only Republicans - filed separate dissents.

"State courts have been enforcing state constitutions in the context of congressional redistricting for a century without any calamitous result or violation of federal law", they argued. Republican lawmakers have also attacked a state Supreme Court justice as biased in an attempt to get him disqualified; the justice, Wecht, said in court filings that he doesn't feel he needs to recuse himself.

While the court delivered its order [text, PDF] finding that the electoral plan violated the Pennsylvania Constitution [text] on January 22, it did not provide a majority opinion until Wednesday. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable.

  • Rogelio Becker