Published: Fri, February 23, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

GOP Leaders Request Hold on Pennsylvania Congressional Map

GOP Leaders Request Hold on Pennsylvania Congressional Map

Few people expected that the Pennsylvania congressional map, which the state Supreme Court ordered redrawn to undo Republican gerrymandering, would prove to be as favorable to Democrats as the one adopted by the court on Monday.

State Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and state House Speaker Mike Turzai filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a stay of the state court's decision before the new maps were released which was denied.

The state Supreme Court, after declaring that the 2011 congressional maps were illegally gerrymandered, had ordered the Republican-controlled Legislature to come up with new maps that met the approval of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf by February 15. "We do not believe that the state Supreme Court had the power, based on the state constitution to invalidate the congressional map".

The GOP challenge comes just two days after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a new congressional map for the state to be used in 2018 and 2020 elections.

In striking down that map last month as unconstitutional, the justices said the new districts should be as compact and contiguous as possible.

The reconfigured map prompted a sharp rebuke from top Republican legislators, who said honoring it would create a "constitutional crisis".

But whether the current heavily gerrymandered map or the Supreme Court map is in place for this year's elections, it is temporary, good for no more than two congressional election cycles. And experts said the new map could give Democrats a significant boost in their push to take control of Congress, adding several Democratic-leaning seats and making others that favor the GOP much more competitive. The request to Justice Samuel Alito (ahl-EE'-toh) says the state Supreme Court usurped legislative authority and calls the decision unprecedented. Most analysts have suggested that the new maps could give Democrats a chance to double the five congressional seats they now hold in Pennsylvania. Since the retirement of former U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-13th District, in 2014, not a single woman has represented Pennsylvania on Capitol Hill. Many cities, like the post-industrial Reading, notes Dovey, were previously packed into districts in which rural voters overwhelmed the city vote.

Moro had been campaigning in the 7th but switched focus to the 6th after the state Supreme Court issued its ruling. Only 13 counties are split in the new plan, and Bucks, Chester, and Delaware Counties are each entirely within a single district.

The next census will occur in 2020, requiring maps to be drawn for the 2022 congressional and state legislative elections. Her analysis, the governor said, found that the map has "no partisan skew in comparison to over a billion randomly generated maps".

The Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court in January threw out a 2011 congressional district map that had been drafted by Republicans, saying it violated the state constitution's guarantee of free and equal elections.

Like this: