Court orders new Pennsylvania congressional district map, says it favored GOP

23 January, 2018, 02:20 | Author: Kim Reid
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court struck down the state's congressional district map in a 4-3 decision issued today.

State legislators are being given an opportunity to redraw the map, subject to the governor's approval, and file it with the court by February 15.

The court banned the current map of 18 House districts from being used again, and ordered that a proposed new map be submitted to the court by February 15. Something else, the judges said they will receive an arrangement with an end goal to keep the May 15 essential race on track.

The state's congressional delegation is controlled by Republicans, 13-5, even though registered Democratic voters outnumber registered Republicans. That didn't much matter until now, when the Pennsylvania Supremes have ruled that extreme partisan gerrymandering violated both equal protection and "free expression" provisions of the state Constitution.

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"It's well established that the United States Supreme Court does not review decisions of state force that exclusively construe state law", attorney Stanton Jones said.

Last week, the nation's highest appellate court blocked a lower court's order for North Carolina to redraw its congressional lines.

The League of Women Voters' Pennsylvania chapter sued to invalidate the existing map, accusing the legislature of erasing prior district boundaries and reconstituting them with the goal of maximizing Republican voters' political advantage.

"It shows there may be a second front in the war against gerrymandering that does not depend on what the U.S. Supreme Court does or does not do in the Wisconsin and Maryland cases", Li said. The four justices in the majority are Democrats.

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According to the seven-member court, the GOP's redistricting plan "plainly and palpably violates the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania". They claimed that the Republican-controlled legislature manipulated the districts in such a way as to minimize the impact of the state's Democratic voting population.

Justice Max Baer agreed the map was unconstitutional but said the rush to draw new district boundaries would disrupt the May primaries.

All eyes have been on the U.S. Supreme Court to decide at some point this year whether state redistricting decisions could be so partisan as to violate voters' constitutional rights, absent some showing of racial discrimination.

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