Gerrymandering Opponents Win Cases, But Republican Advantage Likely in 2018

Pennsylvania Republicans Aren’t Done Cheating Yet

Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers are poised to meet the Friday deadline to submit a new congressional map after the state Supreme Court struck down the state's current map in a gerrymandering case, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The plaintiffs in a racial gerrymandering case that challenged legislative maps at the state level filed a court document asking state judges to order new districts into effect in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, where they accused lawmakers of violating the mid-decade redistricting ban.

The state Supreme Court, in an order issued January 22, found that the state's congressional map had been unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans.

The potential map would also reduce the number of counties split by multiple districts, from 28 to 15.

And now the state Supreme Court says it "clearly, plainly and palpably violates the constitution of the Commonwealth".

Any momentum will be amplified by fairer congressional districts, but it likely won't result in the Democrats getting the majority of the state's congressional seats.

"We're going to make a good-faith effort", said state Sen.

Wecht cast a deciding vote in November, when the court issued a 4-3 decision to put the case on a fast track, a ruling that could result in new maps in time for this year's congressional races. An empty bill, into which a map could eventually be added, is sitting in the House.

Fairness has been the watchword in discussions of Pennsylvania's Congressional map, for which the state Supreme Court has ordered revisions.

In making its assessment, the court looked to the standards set by the state constitution to draw state legislative boundaries as a model for determining when USA congressional districts are constitutional.

Weather warning: Arctic snap expected to last for the next 48 hours
Tomorrow will also be very cold with showers of rain, hail, sleet and snow with a slight risk of thundery bursts forecast. The Siberian spell of weather came as Met Éireann issued a weather warning for the entire country until 12 noon today.

Republicans have been resisting the court's order tooth-and-nail.

Gov. Wolf's office released this statement on the map submitted Friday.

Most recently, some conservatives in Pennsylvania have made a decision to wage war on most of the state's Supreme Court justices. Given the sharp and narrow political divides in Congress these days, changing the partisan makeup of just one state's House delegation has the potential to bring national consequences.

Moving the 15th back to its traditional communities would push the 17th District out of Northampton County and north into Monroe County, the coal region and beyond to the northeast corner of the state along the NY border. "The challengers asked the state court to block the use of five state House districts adopted by the Republican lawmakers past year for Wake and Mecklenburg counties and order them to use election districts drawn by Nathaniel Persily, the Stanford University professor hired by the federal court as a 'special master.' Dallas Woodhouse, North Carolina Republican Party executive director, criticized the move as 'Hail Mary efforts by the other side'".

J.J. Abbott, a spokesman for Wolf, declined to say whether the governor would accept a redrawn map from the Legislature if it's not done by Friday.

"I don't know how you ask the Legislature and governor to get a map together without an opinion providing guidance", Madonna said.

The PA Supreme Court gave lawmakers until February 9 to make a new map.

When the existing maps were drawn, the Legislature and the governor's office were both controlled by Republicans.

- Pennsylvania already figured prominently in Democrats' attempt to win back control of the U.S. House. "Literally all (Democrats) care about is electing Democrats at all times and all costs", said Harnett County Republican State Rep. David Lewis. But the opinion will be looked to in drawing future maps and for future lawsuits, so "they want to do their homework adequately", said Justin Levitt, a professor and associate dean at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

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