SPEAKER MIKE TURZAI: PA Supreme Court oversteps authority to redraw Congressional map

Calling the court's move to throw out and ultimately redraw the state's congressional district map a "power grab", Toomey said it was "inevitable" that the issue will be discussed in Harrisburg.

But Yudichak said the new map is an improvement and that he supports the Supreme Court decision to overturn the congressional map approved by the Legislature after the 2010 U.S. Census.

The new map imposed by the court is undoubtedly less gerrymandered than the previous one, which has been drawn by Republican state lawmakers after the 2010 census. Now, in addition to arguing that the state's top court overrode the legislature's authority to draw district maps, the Republicans' emergency request to Alito stresses that the legislature didn't have enough time to comply with the court's order to draw a satisfactory replacement map.

Their lawsuit says the court doesn't have the power to draw congressional lines, that it created a new state law in setting out criteria for doing so, and gave an impossibly short time frame, ensuring justices would be able to draw their own map.

This new map is set to go into effect for the May 2018, but will not effect the March special election for the 18th district. Yet of the four members of the House representing these districts, three are Republicans, because of the way the lines were drawn across counties, neighborhoods and even backyards.

Eight Republican congressmen from Pennsylvania want a federal court to prevent the use of a court-ordered district map in this year's elections. There are Supreme Court precedents from the past that seem to lean both ways on that question. Natali said he expects more Republicans in the county to be motivated to volunteer in light of the redistricting. Right now, they're elected by voters in "partisan elections".

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"I think that the new PA 15 Congressional District levels the playing field after years gerrymandering by the GOP", said party chairman Jeff Carson.

Democratic candidate Chrissy Houlahan emerged this week as a victor in the national fight over fair elections, after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unveiled a new district map that includes big changes to previously Republican gerrymandered districts.

Republicans now enjoy a 13 to 5 advantage in House seats in Pennsylvania, though the state is evenly divided politically. They also stay in the race in Rep. Matthew Cartwright's significantly Republican-shifted seat, which many experts thought might become too Republican-leaning to hold under the new proposal.

Democrats need to win a net of two dozen seats nationwide to gain the majority in the House.

The AP reported that Latinos make up almost 17 percent of the state's population, but at the time, they had just over 7 percent representation in the Legislature.

It's hard to feel bad for the Republicans, who drew a bad-faith map in 2011 and eventually got their comeuppance for doing so. When they got the chance, no surprise, they tossed the Republican map and replaced it with their own, Democratic-friendly map.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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