Monday, 25 June, 2018

Tom Wolf says no to GOP on congressional map. What's next?

License N  A Pennsylvania Republican wants to impeach judges in gerrymandering case
Ellis Copeland | 15 February, 2018, 09:36

Two top Democratic lawmakers, Sen.

"I don't know how many districts Trump won" or how any district performed for any candidate, Crompton said. "We did what we could do in light of us being hamstrung". That backup opinion did not arrive until late Wednesday and by then the House and Senate had adjourned.

After the failure of previous measures - an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, a refusal by the Senate's president pro tempore to hand over demographic data, and even a proposal to impeach the majority of the state Supreme Court - the legislature's Republican majority tried something else: a proposed map that's almost as Republican-leaning as the previous one.

Wolf, a Democrat, said the maps proposed last week by the top Republican leaders in the House and Senate were once again a partisan gerrymander created to favor the GOP. The new maps have to be accepted by the governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, who is a Democrat.

The court has not weighed in.

Wolf's press office confirmed that the governor told Pennsylvania's Supreme Court that he won't approve the new congressional lines on the grounds that it's a "partisan gerrymander that does not comply with the court's order" or state constitution.

On its face, the proposal from GOP leaders does appear to correct the sprawling, winding districts that have been so criticized in the current map.

Some may wonder just how much of a difference does the map make. Their new map's congressional districts are more compact, share common borders, differ in population by no more than one person and split up far fewer towns and counties than the existing map.

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Part of that was a product of the weird shape of the 7th District, the result of the controversial redistricting plan implemented by Republicans in the state Legislature in 2011.

Pennsylvania lurched another step closer to non-gerrymandered congressional districts last Friday. "Their proposed map continues to significantly sacrifice compactness to partisan interests".

In the 2016 election, despite having a higher number of registered Democrats over Republicans, Pennsylvania elected 13 Republicans and five Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The court recently struck down the 2011 GOP-drawn map as an example of partisan gerrymandering.

As other groups and media outlets have done, the governor's expert, Duchin, ran various computer simulations of maps - and determined that Turzai and Scarnati's map showed clear intent to, again, Gerrymander the districts.

Dickinson College assistant professor of political science David O'Connell said "the map is more compact than now the state's districting has been".

The state Supreme Court's January 21 decision in League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania garnered significant attention and has been incorporated into the national debate about the fairness of politicians drawing the lines of their own voting blocs.

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